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Posts Tagged ‘Kent State Shootings’

January 11, 2015 from the Mendocino coast

A birthday blog for my father Arthur S. Krause on his 90th in this vintage review of I.F. Stone’s 1971 book, The Killings at Kent State, How Murder Went Unpunished

Our Allison was one of ‘Four Dead in Ohio’ … shot to death by US military personnel as she protested the Vietnam War on her Kent State University campus at noon.

Read the true story of Kent State, Jackson State and as you consider these facts, please realize that American leadership’s standard judicial remedy for the murder of civilians is to offer and institute the American grand jury system. Whether in 2015 or in 1970, official US grand juries continue to fail to enable truth, redress, accountability or justice for Americans, especially when American civilians are killed by US law enforcement.

A Harvard Crimson Book Review: I. F. Stone’s Exposing Kent State by Garrett Epps, February 16, 1971, full article

arthur.krause.ksu.1975-1-1THE “forces of order” disposed of six students last May-four whites at Kent State and two blacks at Jackson State. Immediately after the shots were fired, in each case, the killers and the officials who dispatched them began covering up the crime and preparing to use the legal system to discredit and punish “ringleaders.”

At Jackson, the local police, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and the authorities proceeded with coldblooded efficiency born of long practice, using well-established administrative practices to cover up the wanton murder of blacks. As soon as the troopers had stopped firing, the Scranton Commission reported, they calmly picked up and hid the shell casings lying on the ground. They then agreed on a story and stuck to it in their testimony before the Hinds County Grand Jury and their replies to FBI investigators. All of those interviewed denied shooting-a story so ridiculous that even the local grand jury, which found the murders justified, called their declarations “absolutely false.”

After further questioning, the Highway Patrol produced a few shells which it had forcehandedly saved-all were from city police guns. When confronted with this evidence, three Jackson policemen admitted that they had fired. However, neither the local nor the federal grand juries felt compelled to consider charges under the perjury or “false declaration” laws, Instead, they turned the shell casings over to the FBI. Before recessing, however, the county grand jury indicted a young black named Ernest Kyles for arson and inciting to riot.

The cover-up mechanism here was strong; it was roughly the same as that used by the authorities in Orangeburg, S.C., in 1968, after troopers there shot and killed three black students and wounded twenty-seven. Although nineteen policemen were indicted for the shootings, they were later acquitted, returned to duty, and promoted.

It seems unlikely that the Jackson State cover-up will be broken and the guilty punished-especially since the Nixon administration has given unmistakable notice that it is not very interested in pushing investigations into murders of blacks by whites upon whom it is depending for reelection (FBI agents interviewing the police in Mississippi did not bother to keep written records of the interviews-a standard practice intended to make preparing a case easier for local prosecutors).

Initially, the killings at Kent State and the after-math follow the same pattern: disorder breaks out, deadly force is called in to quell it, people are shot at random, evidence is suppressed, and a kangaroo tribunal returns indictments against the victims while clearing the killers. This is what happened during the summer and early fall at Kent: a grand jury cleared the Guardsmen, while indicting 25 students on charges of riot, arson, and unlawful assembly. The report-including a passage which stated that the responsibility for the shootings lay with the students, faculty, and Administration of the University-was published. It seemed likely that the students would be tried and sentenced and the matter forgotten.

BUT the analogy has broken down; for the victims at Kent were not blacks (whose murders are accepted as a matter of course by most of the white middle class), but-as the media never tired of repeating-the children of middle America, kids like the kids next door.

Liberal response was impressive-Ramsey Clark and Mark Lane, among others, came to Ohio to defend those indicted. The pressure has paid off in some partial victories for the Kent 25: two weeks ago, a Federal district judge invalidated the Ohio grand jury report and ordered all available copies burned because it might prejudice jurors if the case came to trial. Ohio State Attorney General William J. Brown is appealing the case and opposing a move to quash the indictments which followed the decision, but it now seems possible that most of the Kent 25 will get off.

I.F. Stone has written a book, The Killings at Kent State which illuminates some of the pressures which caused the shootings and the cover-up which followed. Moreover, he has published some official documents which reveal how the cover-up was effected-including an FBI report prepared in June which says “we have some reason to believe that the claim by National Guardsmen that their lives were endangered was fabricated subsequent to the event.” The book is partly a collection of pieces about the shootings which Stone wrote late last year for the New York Review of Books, with a special report by the Akron Beacon-Journal, a summary of the FBI report-never published before-and the text of the original grand jury report appended.

He also deals with Jackson State, but there he found less information to go on. The Justice Department and the media have taken less of an interest in Jackson: what happened there was established procedure. As Attorney General John Mitchell said last month: “The case is closed. The judicial process has taken its course.”

Stone has been around for a long time, and he can see through official lies and half-truths better than any other American journalist. He also has a large capacity for liberal outrage, and he finds plenty to anger him in the Kent situation. It is apparent that, from the decision to call in the National Guard until the publication of the Grand Jury report, the students at Kent State were victims of a cynical political system that counted their deaths merely as embarrassments or opportunities to entrench itself further in power.

Ohio Governor James Rhodes took over the handling of the Kent situation personally on Sunday, the day before the murders. The night before, students had burned the ROTC building on campus, slashing hoses when firemen came to put out the fire. Rhodes went to great lengths to demonstrate that he was hopping mad. He told a press conference that he had ordered the Guard to break up all assemblies on the campus, regardless of whether or not they were violent.

Pounding his fist on the table, he intoned, “We’re going to employ every force of law that we have under our authority. . . . We are going to employ every weapon possible. . . . You cannot continue to set fires to buildings that are worth five to ten million dollars [the ROTC building was valued at about $50,000] . . . . These people just move from one campus to another and terrorize a community. They’re worse than the brown shirts and the Communist element and also the night riders in the vigilantes [sic]. They’re the worst type of people that we harbor in America. . . . There is no sanctuary for these people to burn down buildings. It’s over with in Ohio.”

Some of Rhode’s deep moral outrage may be explained by the fact that he was running for the Republican Senatorial nomination in a primary two days away. Anti-student measures were good politics and Rhodes seized the chance to show what a tough guy he could be by turning the Guard loose on the Kent students with orders to let them have it.

THE GUARD he was using to prove his point was a weapon with a hair-trigger. The Ohio National Guard is the barony of Gen. Sylvester T. Del Corso, a former Army Colonel with the habit of keeping his office clock four hours fast. Del Corso appeared on televised hearings of the Scranton Commission last summer, sporting a complacent smile and carrying a large rock and a length of steel pipe which he claimed students had thrown at his men. Corso had achieved fame in Ohio before Kent by denouncing Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes as a tool of black revolutionaries and Communists, and by blaming permissiveness and a Communist conspiracy for ghetto riots. His Guard was one of the few in the nation which routinely carried live ammunition, and it had standing orders to shoot back at snipers.

Before being ordered to Kent on May 2, the Guard units involved had spent four days on active duty fighting a wildcat strike. When the order came, one-third of the force was assembled and given a one-hour review lesson in riot control. Then the whole detachment piled into trucks and headed for the campus.

Rhodes and Del Corso had both made it clear that the Guard should not feel inhibited about their methods in breaking up student demonstrations. Students-all students-were the enemy. The Guard had no clear function on campus. It was there to punish the campus for being unruly, for being antiwar, for being young. It was there to garner a few points for an ambitious politician.

The Guardsmen shot, killing four and wounding [nine]. No one can make any sense out of the shooting; there was no sniping; the Guardsmen were neither in danger nor even surrounded; the number of rocks thrown was not large; and there was even plenty of tear gas-both FBI reports and the report by the Beacon-Journal make these facts clear. The only gun seized on campus that day belonged to a student taking pictures for the campus police. [Allegedly from Terry Norman, KSU student and FBI Informant/Provocateur]

The Guardsmen were acting on an ideology enunciated by Nixon, Agnew, and Del Corso. The students were the enemy, the American Viet Cong, guilty of the crime of being in the way. The Guardsmen had been given a focus for their anger, given live ammunition, and told to take care of the situation. No one can contend that they shot cold-bloodedly, taking out their anger like the hardhats. Undoubtedly they fired in blind, tired, nervous panic. But the shells had been loaded and the powder primed very carefully in Washington and Columbus.

Rhodes lost the primary the next day and went into seclusion, refusing to speak to reporters for three weeks. But the cover-up was under way before that. According to the FBI report, the Guardsmen got together and agreed to say that they had been in danger and had fired to keep from being overrun by students who wanted to grab their guns and bayonet them. The Beacon-Journal report explodes this flimsy story by quoting a Guardsman as saying, “The guys have been saying that we got to get together and stick to the same story, that it was our lives or them, a matter of survival. I told them I would tell the truth and I wouldn’t get in trouble that way.”

THE FBI reports also destroy the story, reporting that only one Guardsman was seriously injured in the action before the firing, and that “the Guardsmen clearly did not believe that they were being fired upon.” Photographs do not show Guardsmen crouching or seeking cover from rocks. And, the report says, “We have some reason to believe that the claim by Guardsmen that their lives were endangered by the students was fabricated after the fact.”

The Ohio Grand Jury that met to consider the shootings, however, was not programmed to accept these possibilities. It had one purpose: to exonerate the Guard. To have done otherwise, as Stone points out, would have been to condemn Rhodes. The political underlings accepted as a matter of course the Governor’s complicity in the killings and moved to prevent it from being known. Thus, the chief prosecutor read the FBI report but did not submit it to the Grand Jury. He also neglected to call a number of Guardsmen named in the FBI report who gave testimony contrary to the pre-planned conclusion that the Guard had been in danger. Another prosecutor later told the newspapers that the National Guard “should have shot all the troublemakers.”

The grand jury gave the expected whitewash, and the published report expanded considerably on its original mandate. It first dealt with the question of the Guardsmen (simultaneously deciding that a number of students should be charged with riot). The Guardsmen, it said, had “fired in the sincere and honest belief and under the circumstances which would have logically caused them to believe that they would have suffered serious bodily injury had they not done so,” and were “not, therefore, subject to criminal prosecution.”

The report then fixed responsibility for the four deaths on the university administration, which was “permissive”: even though SDS had been banned from the campus for more than a year, the Grand Jury made much of the fact that any other organization could be accredited to use University facilities without prior political screenings. The Administration had even, it charged, allowed a rock concert by “a rock music group known as the ‘Jefferson Airplane'” at which slide projectors had shown shots of the Guardsmen firing at the students.

THE SOLUTION the report proposed was designed to prevent any more Kent States: “Expel the troublemakers without fear or favor.”

The repressive mechanisms swung into action: the 25 were indicted, and tough new laws and rules were inaugurated to make pacification of students easier. One bill, the Ohio Campus Disorders Act, requires that an outside referee be appointed by the Regents of every State University with the advice of the local Bar Association. This referee would hear disciplinary cases of students arrested for-not convicted of-any felony or misdemeanor. He has the unrestricted right to expel or suspend students brought before him.

The Bar Association in Kent nominated Seabury Brown-the prosecutor who had said that “the National Guard should have shot all the troublemakers.”

This nomination was vetoed by the Regents; and it seems possible that the Kent 25 may not be jailed for the crime of having served as moving targets. But the machinery is being honed. Next time it will work better; and soon, it may be as ruthless and efficient everywhere as it is in Mississippi.

It would be satisfying to imagine that this book-thorough and remarkably well-documented, considering the haste with which it was assembled-could cause a public outcry; but it is impossible. Stone told a reporter last week that he did not expect much reaction to the book. “The war has made moral imbeciles of us all,” he said. Truly, six years of escalating war at home and in Vietnam have revealed clearly that our democratic institutions are a sick joke, and the realization has numbed us. We may be beaten to the ground before feeling returns.

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On March 13, 2014 the Kent State Truth Tribunal addressed the United Nations Human Rights Committee at the United States 4th Periodic Review in Geneva:

My sister Allison Krause was one of four students shot to death by American military personnel in the parking lot of her university campus at Kent State, Ohio on May 4, 1970 as she protested the Vietnam War. I was fifteen years old when this happened. I have come here today to ask that the United States be held accountable for failing to fully investigate this incident and its own complicity in the crimes that took place and to deliver justice to the victims and their families. Allison stood for peace and died for peace on May 4th.

My mother Doris Krause, now 88 years old, is not able to travel due to her failing health. Even though Mom’s not here, she helped write these words and believes in them. Our sentiments are shared by family members and by many others present at Kent State at the time of the shootings, as well as concerned citizens who have also longed for accountability for the historic, and tragic, series of events at Kent State.

For 44 years the United States government has refused to admit that four young students … children … were killed at Kent State. There has not been a credible, independent, impartial investigation into Kent State. No group or individual has been held accountable. Even in 2010 upon the emergence of undeniable, credible forensic evidence pointing to direct US government involvement, there has still not been a full accounting of the events on and near that day, and no remedy delivered to the victims.

Because of the failure of the US government to pursue accountability and deliver redress to victims, we ask the UNHRC to press the US to initiate a new investigation of Kent State, with a particular focus on the forensic evidence that emerged in 2010. The right to assemble and protest is professed as a cherished American value and is a fundamental facet of our democracy. The Kent State precedent has cast a shadow over this democracy for over 40 years. If Kent State remains a glaring example of government impunity, it sends a message that protestors, especially young men and women, can be killed by the state for expressing their political beliefs. My sister died protesting for peace and I would like to honor her memory by ensuring that this never happens to another American protestor again.

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AllisonStoodForPeace.-1

On February 9, 2013, the Kent State Truth Tribunal and Allison’s family began working with the United Nations in Geneva. Kent State questions and issues were submitted, and were accepted by the United Nations. Inquiries into the United States’ Report on their compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as the United States participates in its 4th Periodic Review before the Human Rights Committee at the UN.

READ the original Kent State Truth Tribunal ‘submission’ to the UN, Human Rights Committee 130209_ICCPRKentStateFinalA

READ the Kent State Truth Tribunal ‘shadow report’ to the UN, Human Rights Committee submitted October 2013 KSTTShadowReportFINAL

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Editors Note: On October 10, 2013, the US Delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Committee requested a postponement due to the US Government shutdown. The US postponement request set the new date for the US 4th Periodic Review on March 13/14, 2014. News response to the US postponement ~ http://bit.ly/H4M6qD

On April 3, 2013 Kent State Truth Tribunal’s submission to the United Nations was posted online at the UN Human Rights Committee website, including questions related to the the United States’ refusal to open a credible, independent investigation of the Kent State new evidence.  KSTT U.N. Submisstion

UNITED NATIONS NEWS: The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner, Human Rights Committee released their ‘List of Issues’ to be asked of the United States regarding American Leadership’s human rights record. On March 13 and 14, 2014, the United States will participate in its 4th Periodic Review before the UN Human Rights Committee.

The Human Rights Committee ‘List of Issues’ does include broad language inquiring about measures taken by American leadership to address police brutality and excessive use of force, which could serve as impetus for discussion about Kent State later this year, hopefully examining the critical ‘Right to Life’ issue for American protesters remains unexplored.

FIRST CONSULT was held 5/30/13. READ the Kent State Truth Tribunal statement to the United States related to the United Nations, Human Rights Committee culminating in Geneva, March 2014. http://bit.ly/15HhJxO

READ our Kent State Submission for the U.N., Human Rights Committee.

Uncensoring the ‘unhistory’ of the Kent State massacre while also aiming toward justice & healing, a chapter in Censored 2013 from Project Censored http://bit.ly/RQNUWC

More on the 2/9/13 Kent State Truth Tribunal Submission to the United Nation: A Plea for Justice at Kent State. http://bit.ly/WQpjUP

PROGRESS from October 2013:  READ the Kent State Truth Tribunal ‘shadow report’ to the UN, Human Rights Committee  KSTTShadowReportFINAL

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This article is from the forthcoming book Censored 2013: Dispatches from the Media Revolution and intends to expose the lies of American leadership in order to uncensor the “unhistory” of the Kent State massacre, while also aiming toward justice and healing, as censoring the past impacts American Occupy protesters today.

by Laurel Krause with Mickey Huff

Shooting guardsmen at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, photograph taken by John A. Darnell Jr.

When Ohio National Guardsmen fired sixty-seven gun shots in thirteen seconds at Kent State University (KSU) on May 4, 1970, they murdered four unarmed, protesting college students and wounded nine others. For forty-two years, the United States government has held the position that Kent State was a tragic and unfortunate incident occurring at a noontime antiwar rally on an American college campus. In 2010, compelling forensic evidence emerged showing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) were the lead agencies in managing Kent State government operations, including the cover-up. At Kent State, lawful protest was pushed into the realm of massacre as the US federal government, the state of Ohio, and the Ohio National Guard (ONG) executed their plans to silence antiwar protest in America.

The new evidence threatens much more than the accuracy of accounts of the Kent State massacre in history books. As a result of this successful, ongoing Kent State government cover-up, American protesters today are at much greater risk than they realize, with no real guarantees or protections offered by the US First Amendment rights to protest and assemble. This chapter intends to expose the lies of the state in order to uncensor the “unhistory” of the Kent State massacre, while also aiming toward justice and healing, as censoring the past impacts our perspectives in the present.

The killing of protesters at Kent State changed the minds of many Americans about the role of the US in the Vietnam War. Following this massacre, there was an unparalleled national response: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed across America in a student strike of more than four million. Young people across the nation had strong suspicions the Kent State massacre was planned to subvert any further protests arising from the announcement that the already controversial war in Vietnam had expanded into Cambodia.

Yet instead of attempting to learn the truth at Kent State, the US government took complete control of the narrative in the press and ensuing lawsuits. Over the next ten years, authorities claimed there had not been a command-to-fire at Kent State, that the ONG had been under attack, and that their gunfire had been prompted by the “sound of sniper fire.” Instead of investigating Kent State, the American leadership obstructed justice, obscured accountability, tampered with evidence, and buried the truth. The result of these efforts has been a very complicated government cover-up that has remained intact for more than forty years.1

The hidden truth finally began to emerge at the fortieth anniversary of the Kent State massacre in May 2010, through the investigative journalism of John Mangels, science writer at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, whose findings supported the long-held suspicion that the four dead in Ohio were intentionally murdered at Kent State University by the US government.

Mangels commissioned forensic evidence expert Stuart Allen to professionally analyze a tape recording made from a Kent State student’s dormitory window ledge on May 4, 1970, forever capturing the crowd and battle sounds from before, during, and after the fusillade.2 For the first time since that fateful day, journalists and concerned Americans were finally able to hear the devastating soundtrack of the US government murdering Kent State students as they protested against the Vietnam War.

The cassette tape—provided to Mangels by the Yale University Library, Kent State Collection, and housed all these years in a box of evidence admitted into lawsuits led by attorney Joseph Kelner in his representation of the Kent State victims—was called the “Strubbe tape” after Terry Strubbe, the student who made the recording by placing a microphone attached to a personal recorder on his dormitory 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 and found a CD copy of the tape recording from the day of the shootings. Paying ten dollars for a duplicate, Canfora then 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.

But it is really the two pieces of groundbreaking evidence Allen uncovered that illuminate and provide a completely new perspective into the Kent State massacre.

First, Allen heard and verified the Kent State command-to-fire spoken at noon on May 4, 1970. The command-to-fire has been a point of contention, with authorities stating under oath and to media for forty years that “no order to fire was given at Kent State,” that “the Guard felt under attack from the students,” and that “the Guard reacted to sniper fire.”3 Yet Allen’s verified forensic evidence of the Kent State command-to-fire directly conflicts with guardsmen testimony that they acted in self-defense.

The government claim—that guardsmen were under attack at the time of the ONG barrage of bullets—has long been suspect, as there is nothing in photographic or video records to support the “under attack” excuse. Rather, from more than a football field away, the Kent State student protesters swore, raised their middle fingers, and threw pebbles and stones and empty tear gas canisters, mostly as a response to their campus being turned into a battlefield with over 2,000 troops and military equipment strewn across the Kent State University campus.

Then at 12:24 p.m., the ONG fired armor-piercing bullets at scattering students in a parking lot—again, from more than a football field away. Responding with armor-piercing bullets, as Kent State students held a peaceful rally and protested unarmed on their campus, was the US government’s choice of action.

The identification of the “commander” responsible for the Kent State command-to-fire on unarmed students has not yet been ascertained. This key question will be answered when American leadership decides to share the truth of what happened, especially as the Kent State battle was under US government direction. Until then, the voice ordering the command-to-fire in the Kent State Strubbe tape will remain unknown.

The other major piece of Kent State evidence identified in Allen’s analysis was the “sound of sniper fire” recorded on the tape. These sounds point to Terry Norman, FBI informant and provocateur, who was believed to have fired his low-caliber pistol four times, just seventy seconds before the command-to-fire.

Mangelswrote in the Plain Dealer, “Norman was photographing protestors that day for the FBI and carried a loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson Model . . . five-shot revolver in a holster under his coat for protection. Though he denied discharging his pistol, he previously has been accused of triggering the Guard shootings by firing to warn away angry demonstrators, which the soldiers mistook for sniper fire.”4

Video footage and still photography have recorded the minutes following the “sound of sniper fire,” showing Terry Norman sprinting across the Kent State commons, meeting up with Kent Police and the ONG. In this visual evidence, Norman immediately yet casually hands off his pistol to authorities and the recipients of the pistol show no surprise as Norman hands them his gun.5

The “sound of sniper fire” is a key element of the Kent State cover-up and is also referred to by authorities in the Nation editorial, “Kent State: The Politics of Manslaughter,” from May 18, 1970:

The murders occurred on May 4. Two days earlier, [Ohio National Guard Adjutant General] Del Corso had issued a statement that sniper fire would be met by gunfire from his men. After the massacre, Del Corso and his subordinates declared that sniper fire had triggered the fusillade.6

Yet the Kent State “sound of sniper fire” remains key, according to White House Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman, who noted President Richard Nixon’s reaction to Kent State in the Oval Office on May 4, 1970:

Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman told him [of the killings] late in the afternoon. But at two o’clock Haldeman jotted on his ever-present legal pad “keep P. filled in on Kent State.” In his daily journal Haldeman expanded on the President’s reaction: “He very disturbed. Afraid his decision set it off . . . then kept after me all day for more facts. Hoping rioters had provoked the shootings—but no real evidence that they did.” Even after he had left for the day, Nixon called Haldeman back and among others issued one ringing command: “need to get out story of sniper.”7

In a May 5, 1970, article in the New York Times, President Nixon commented on violence at Kent State:

This should remind us all once again that when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy. It is my hope that this tragic and unfortunate incident will strengthen the determination of all the nation’s campuses, administrators, faculty and students alike to stand firmly for the right which exists in this country of peaceful dissent and just as strong against the resort to violence as a means of such expression.8

President Nixon’s comment regarding dissent turning to violence obfuscated and laid full blame on student protesters for creating violence at Kent State. Yet at the rally occurring on May 4th, student protester violence amounted to swearing, throwing small rocks, and volleying back tear gas canisters, while the gun-toting soldiers of the ONG declared the peace rally illegal, brutally herded the students over large distances on campus, filled the air with tear gas, and even threw rocks at students. Twenty minutes into the protest demonstration, a troop of National Guard marched up a hill away from the students, turned to face the students in unison, and fired.

The violence at Kent State came from the National Guardsmen, not protesting students. On May 4, 1970, the US government delivered its deadly message to Kent State students and the world: if you protest in America against the wars of the Pentagon and the Department of Defense, the US government will stop at nothing to silence you.

Participating American militia colluded at Kent State to organize and fight this battle against American student protesters, most of them too young to vote but old enough to fight in the Vietnam War.9 And from new evidence exposed forty years after the massacre, numerous elements point directly to the FBI and COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) as lead agencies managing the government operation of the Kent State massacre, including the cover-up, but also with a firm hand in some of the lead-up.

Prior to the announcement of the Cambodian incursion, the ONG arrived in the Kent area acting in a federalized role as the Cleveland-Akron labor wildcat strikes were winding down. The ONG continued in the federalized role at Kent State, ostensibly to protect the campus and as a reaction to the burning of a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) building. Ohio Governor James “Jim” Rhodes claimed the burning of the ROTC building on the Kent State University campus was his reason for “calling in the guard,” yet in this picture of the burning building, the ONG are clearly standing before the flames as the building burns.10

From eyewitness accounts, the burning of the ROTC building at Kent State was completed by undercover law enforcement determined to make sure it could become the symbol needed to support the Kent State war on student protest.11

According to Dr. Elaine Wellin, an eyewitness to the many events at Kent State leading up to and including May 4th, there were uniformed and plain-clothes officers potentially involved in managing the burning of the ROTC building. Wellin was in close proximity to the building just prior to the burning and saw a person with a walkie-talkie about three feet from her telling someone on the other end of the communication that they should not send down the fire truck as the ROTC building was not on fire yet.12

A memo to COINTELPRO director William C. Sullivan ordered a full investigation into the “fire bombing of the ROTC building.” But only days after the Kent State massacre, every weapon that was fired was destroyed, and all other weapons used at Kent State were gathered by top ONG officers, placed with other weapons and shipped to Europe for use by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), so no weapons used at Kent could be traced.

From these pieces of evidence, it becomes clearer that the US government coordinated this battle against student protest on the Kent State campus. Using the playbook from the Huston Plan, which refers to protesting students as the “New Left,” the US government employed provocateurs, staged incidents, and enlisted political leaders to attack and lay full blame on the students. On May 4, 1970, at Kent State University, the US government fully negated every student response as they criminalized the First Amendment rights to protest and assemble.13

The cover-up adds tremendous complexity to an already complicated event, making it nearly impossible to fairly try the Kent State massacre in the American justice system. This imposed “establishment” view that Kent State was about “civil rights”—and not about murder or attempted murder—led to a legal settlement on the basis of civil rights lost, with the US government consistently refusing to address the death of four students and the wounding of nine.14

Even more disheartening, efforts to maintain the US government cover-up at Kent State recently went into overdrive in April 2012, when President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) formally announced a refusal to open a new probe into the wrongs of Kent State, continuing the tired 1970 tactic of referring to Kent State as a civil rights matter.15

The April 2012 DOJ letters of response also included a full admission that, in 1979, after reaching the Kent State civil rights settlement, the FBI Cleveland office destroyed what they considered a key piece of evidence: the original tape recording made by Terry Strubbe on his dormitory window ledge. In a case involving homicides, the FBI’s illegal destruction of evidence exposes their belief to be “above the law,” ignoring the obvious fact that four students were killed on May 4, 1970. As the statute of limitations never lapses for murder, the FBI’s actions went against every law of evidence. The laws clearly state that evidence may not be destroyed in homicides, even when the murders are perpetrated by the US government.

The destruction of the original Strubbe tape also shows the FBI’s intention to obstruct justice: the 2012 DOJ letters on Kent State claim that, because the original Strubbe tape was intentionally destroyed, the copy examined by Allen cannot be compared to the original or authenticated. However the original Strubbe tape, destroyed by the DOJ, was never admitted into evidence.

From these pieces of evidence, it becomes clearer that the US government coordinated this battle against student protest on the Kent State campus. Using the playbook from the Huston Plan, which refers to protesting students as the “New Left,” the US government employed provocateurs, staged incidents, and enlisted political leaders to attack and lay full blame on the students. On May 4, 1970, at Kent State University, the US government fully negated every student response as they criminalized the First Amendment rights to protest and assemble.13

The cover-up adds tremendous complexity to an already complicated event, making it nearly impossible to fairly try the Kent State massacre in the American justice system. This imposed “establishment” view that Kent State was about “civil rights”—and not about murder or attempted murder—led to a legal settlement on the basis of civil rights lost, with the US government consistently refusing to address the death of four students and the wounding of nine.14

Even more disheartening, efforts to maintain the US government cover-up at Kent State recently went into overdrive in April 2012, when President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) formally announced a refusal to open a new probe into the wrongs of Kent State, continuing the tired 1970 tactic of referring to Kent State as a civil rights matter.15

The April 2012 DOJ letters of response also included a full admission that, in 1979, after reaching the Kent State civil rights settlement, the FBI Cleveland office destroyed what they considered a key piece of evidence: the original tape recording made by Terry Strubbe on his dormitory window ledge. In a case involving homicides, the FBI’s illegal destruction of evidence exposes their belief to be “above the law,” ignoring the obvious fact that four students were killed on May 4, 1970. As the statute of limitations never lapses for murder, the FBI’s actions went against every law of evidence. The laws clearly state that evidence may not be destroyed in homicides, even when the murders are perpetrated by the US government.

The destruction of the original Strubbe tape also shows the FBI’s intention to obstruct justice: the 2012 DOJ letters on Kent State claim that, because the original Strubbe tape was intentionally destroyed, the copy examined by Allen cannot be compared to the original or authenticated. However the original Strubbe tape, destroyed by the DOJ, was never admitted into evidence.

No More Kent States! 23

In 2010, the United Kingdom acknowledged the wrongs of Bloody Sunday, also setting an example for the US government to learn the important lessons of protest and the First Amendment. In January 1972, during “Bloody Sunday,” British paratroopers shot and killed fourteen protesters; most of the demonstrators were shot in the back as they ran to save themselves.24

Thirty-eight years after the Bloody Sunday protest, British Prime Minister David Cameron apologized before Parliament, formally acknowledging the wrongful murder of protesters and apologized for the government.25 The healing in Britain has begun. Considering the striking similarity in events where protesters were murdered by the state, let’s examine the wrongs of Kent State, begin to heal this core American wound, and make a very important, humane course correction for America. When will it become legal to protest in America?

President Obama, the Department of Justice, and the US government as a whole must take a fresh look at Stuart Allen’s findings in the Kent State Strubbe tape. The new Kent State evidence is compelling, clearly showing how US covert intelligence took the lead in creating this massacre and in putting together the ensuing cover-up.

As the United States has refused to examine the new evidence or consider the plight of American protest in 2012, the Kent State Truth Tribunal formally requested the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague consider justice at Kent State.26

Who benefited the most from the murder of student protesters at Kent State? Who was really behind the Kent State massacre? There is really only one US agency that clearly benefited from killing student antiwar protesters at Kent State: the Department of Defense.

Since 1970 through 2012, the military-industrial-cyber complex strongly associated with the Department of Defense and covert US government agencies have actively promoted never-ending wars with enormous unaccounted-for budgets as they increase restrictions on American protest. These aims of the Pentagon are evidenced today in the USA PATRIOT Act, the further civil rights–limiting National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and new war technologies like CIA drones.

Probing the dark and buried questions of the Kent State massacre is only a beginning step to shine much-needed light on the United States military and to illuminate how the Pentagon has subverted American trust and safety, as it endeavors to quell domestic protest against war at any cost since at least 1970.

********

Laurel Krause is a writer and truth seeker dedicated to raising awareness about ocean protection, safe renewable energy, and truth at Kent State. She publishes a blog on these topics at Mendo Coast Current. She is the cofounder and director of the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Before spearheading efforts for justice for her sister Allison Krause, who was killed at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, Laurel worked at technology start-ups in Silicon Valley.

Mickey Huff is the director of Project Censored and professor of social science and history at Diablo Valley College.  He did his graduate work in history on historical interpretations of the Kent State shootings and has been actively researching the topic more since his testimony to the Kent State Truth Tribunal in New York City in 2010.

This article is from the forthcoming Seven Stories Press book Censored 2013: Dispatches from the Media Revolution and intends to expose the lies of American leadership in order to uncensor the “unhistory” of the Kent State massacre, while also aiming toward justice and healing, as censoring the past impacts #Occupy protesters today.

Notes

[1.] For more background on Kent State and the many conflicting interpretations, see Scott L. Bills, Kent State/May 4: Echoes Through a Decade (Kent OH: Kent State University Press, 1982). Of particular interest for background on this chapter, see Peter Davies, “The Burning Question: A Government Cover-up?,” in Kent State/May 4, 150–60. For a full account of Davies’s work, see The Truth About Kent State: A Challenge to the American Conscience (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973). For a listing of other works see Selected Bibliography on the Events of May 4, 1970, at Kent State University, http://dept.kent.edu/30yearmay4/source/bib.htm.

[2.] John Mangels, “New Analysis of 40-Year-Old Recording of Kent State Shootings Reveals that Ohio Guard was Given an Order to Prepare to Fire,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), May 9, 2010, updated April 23, 2012, http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/05/new_analysis_of_40-year-old_re.html; Interview with Stuart Allen analyzing new evidence who said of the efforts, “It’s about setting history right.” See the footage “Kent State Shootings Case Remains Closed,” CNN, added April 29, 2012, http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2012/04/29/justice-department-will-not-reopen-kent-state-shootings-case.cnn.

[3.] Submitted for the Congressional Record by Representative Dennis Kucinich, “Truth Emerging in Kent State Cold Case Homicide,” by Laurel Krause, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r111%3AE14DE0-0019%3A. For a brief introduction on the history and emerging historiography of the Kent State shootings, see Mickey S. Huff, “Healing Old Wounds: Public Memory, Commemoration, and Conflicts Over Historical Interpretations of the Kent State Shootings, 1977–1990,” master’s thesis, Youngstown State University, December 1999, http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi?acc_num=ysu999620326.

For the official government report, see The Report of the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest (Washington: US Government Printing Office, 1970), also known as the Scranton Commission. It should be noted that the Scranton Commission stated in their conclusion between pages 287 and 290 that the shootings were “unnecessary, unwarranted and inexcusable” but criminal wrongdoing was never established through the courts and no one was ever held accountable for the shootings. Also, it should be noted, that the interpretation that the guard was ordered to fire conflicts with Davies’s interpretation, in note 1 here, that even though he believes there was a series of cover-ups by the government, he has not attributed malice. For more on the Kent State cover-ups early on, see I. F. Stone, “Fabricated Evidence in the Kent State Killings,” New York Review of Books, December 3, 1970, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1970/dec/03/fabricated-evidence-in-the-kent-state-killings.

[4.] Mangels, “Kent State Tape Indicates Altercation and Pistol Fire Preceded National Guard Shootings (audio),” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), October 8, 2010, http://www.cleveland.com/science/index.ssf/2010/10/analysis_of_kent_state_audio_t.html.

[5.] Kent State Shooting 1970 [BX4510], Google Video, at 8:20 min., http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3727445416544720642.

[6.] Editorial, “Kent State: The Politics of Manslaughter,” Nation, April 30, 2009 [May 18, 1970], http://www.thenation.com/article/kent-state-politics-manslaughter.

[7.] Charles A. Thomas, Kenfour: Notes On An Investigation (e-book), http://speccoll.library.kent.edu/4may70/kenfour3.

[8.] John Kifner, “4 Kent State Students Killed by Troops,” New York Times, May 4, 1970, http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0504.html#article.

[9.] Voting age was twenty-one at this time, until the passage of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution in 1971, which lowered the voting age to eighteen, partially in response to Vietnam War protests as youth under twenty-one could be drafted without the right to vote.

[10.] It should also be noted, that Rhodes was running for election the Tuesday following the Kent shootings on a law and order ticket.

[11.] “My Personal Testimony ROTC Burning May 2 1970 Kent State,” YouTube, April 28, 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ppBkB4caY0&feature=youtu.be; Freedom of Information Act, FBI, Kent State Shooting, File Number 98-46479, part 7 of 8 (1970), http://vault.fbi.gov/kent-state-shooting/kent-state-shooting-part-07-of-08/view.

[12.] The Project Censored Show on The Morning Mix, “May 4th and the Kent State Shootings in the 42nd Year,” Pacifica Radio, KPFA, 94.1FM, May 4, 2012 live at 8:00 a.m., archived online at http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/80293 and http://dl.dropbox.com/u/42635027/20120504-Fri0800.mp3. For Wellin on ROTC, see recording at 28:45.

Show description: The May 4th Kent State Shootings 42 Years Later: Justice Still Not Served with Congressman Dennis Kucinich commenting on the DOJ’s recent refusal to reopen the case despite new evidence of a Kent State command-to-fire and the ‘sound of sniper fire’ leading to the National Guard firing live ammunition at unarmed college students May 4, 1970; Dr. Elaine Wellin, Kent State eyewitness shares seeing undercover agents at the ROTC fire in the days before, provocateurs in staging the rallies at Kent, and at Kent State on May 4th; we’ll hear from investigator and forensic evidence expert Stuart Allen regarding his audio analysis of the Kent State Strubbe tape from May 4th revealing the command-to-fire and the ‘sound of sniper fire’ seventy seconds before; and we hear from Kent State Truth Tribunal director Laurel Krause, the sister of slain student Allison, about her efforts for justice at Kent State and recent letter to President Obama..

Also see Peter Davies’ testimony about agents provocateurs and the ROTC fire cited in note 1, “The Burning Question: A Government Cover-up?,” in Kent State/May 4, 150–60.

[13.] The Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), “Volume 2: Huston Plan,” http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/contents/church/contents_church_reports_vol2.htm.

[14.] Associated Press, “Kent State Settlement: Was Apology Included?,” Eugene Register-Guard, January 5, 1979, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1310&dat=19790105&id=xvJVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=BuIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3696,963632.

[15.] Mangels, “Justice Department Won’t Reopen Probe of 1970 Kent State Shootings,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), April 24, 2012, http://www.cleveland.com/science/index.ssf/2012/04/justice_department_wont_re-ope.html; and kainah, “Obama Justice Dept.: No Justice for Kent State,” Daily Kos, May 2, 2012, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/02/1086726/-Justice-Dept-No-Justice-for-Kent-State.

[16.] Mangels, “New Analysis.”

[17.] Letters between the Department of Justice and Representative Dennis Kucinich, archived at the Congressman’s website, April 20 and April 24 of 2012, http://kucinich.house.gov/uploadedfiles/kent_state_response_from_doj.pdf and http://kucinich.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=292306.

[18.] Mangels, “Kent State Shootings: Does Former Informant Hold the Key to the May 4 Mystery?,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), December 19, 2010, http://www.cleveland.com/science/index.ssf/2010/12/kent_state_shootings_does_form.html.

[19.] Freedom of Information Act, FBI.

[20.] The Project Censored Show on The Morning Mix, “May 4th and the Kent State Shootings in the 42nd Year.”

[21.] Steven Rosenfeld, “Will a Militarized Police Force Facing Occupy Wall Street Lead to Another Kent State?,” AlterNet, May 3, 2012, http://www.alternet.org/rights/155270/will_a_militarized_police_force_facing_occupy_wall_street_lead_to_another_kent_state_massacre.

[22.] Ibid.

[23.] Laurel Krause, “No More Kent States,” Mendo Coast Current, April 21, 2012, https://mendocoastcurrent.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/13-day-for-kent-state-peace.

[24.] Laurel Krause, “Unjustified, Indefensible, Wrong,” Mendo Coast Current, September 13, 2010, https://mendocoastcurrent.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/unjustified-indefensible-wrong.

[25.] Associated Press, “Bloody Sunday Report Blames British Soldiers Fully,” USA Today, June 15, 2010, http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2010-06-15-Bloody-Sunday-Ireland_N.htm; and Cameron’s direct quote from Henry McDonald, Owen Bowcott, and Hélène Mulholland, “Bloody Sunday Report: David Cameron Apologises for ‘Unjustifiable’ Shootings,” Guardian, June 15, 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jun/15/bloody-sunday-report-saville-inquiry.

[26.] Laurel Krause, “To the Hague: Justice for the May 4th Kent State Massacre?,” Mendo Coast Current, May 7, 2012, https://mendocoastcurrent.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/may-4th-kent-state-massacre-a-call-for-truth-justice; for more on the Kent State Truth Tribunal, see http://www.TruthTribunal.org.

 

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May 6, 2011

Dear Mr. President & General Holder,

My sister Allison Krause was killed at Kent State on May 4, 1970. I co-founded the Kent State Truth Tribunal with Emily Kunstler and we opened our doors for the first of three tribunals last year right around this time.

On May 1-4, 2010 we recorded, preserved and honored the stories of original participants and witnesses of the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970. It was a blessing that my mother Doris Krause, 85, was able to be present for the beginning of the Kent State healing.

As I returned to my home in California, I received word from Mom that the Kent State Tape had been examined for the very first time and a story was breaking in the Plain Dealer tomorrow, article here http://bit.ly/aM7Ocm That she had given a quote applauding the news of this long-denied order to shoot. That it had been analyzed and verified by Mr. Stuart Allen, a top forensic scientist (also Stuyvestant colleague of General Holder).

In October 2010 at the Kent State Truth Tribunal, we invited Mr. Allen to participate as a meaningfully-involved participant, to examine the Kent State Tape before our cameras. At KSTT-NYC, I received word that there was more than the command on the Kent State Tape. That Mr. Allen, in preparing for his KSTT testimonial, discovered a violent altercation recorded just 70 seconds before the national guard command to fire and ensuing barrage, 67 shots for 13 seconds. Read http://bit.ly/als1xB

As we opened our doors in NYC for our KSTT on October 9-10, 2010, and as a result of Mr. Allen’s shocking new evidence, Representative Dennis Kucinich, chair of the Domestic Policy subcommittee responded by immediately opening an investigation into the Kent State shootings. http://bit.ly/cO69Yx

Then the other shoe dropped. The Democrats lost the election and Rep Kucinich lost his seat as chair in the Domestic Policy subcommittee. http://bit.ly/hmM2SH

Looking back on my Kent State path, I was 15 years old when Allison was murdered. For nine years after, my family life and world were also blown apart forever, especially as my folks pursued justice for Allison in the courts. Mr. President, no one from the government ever came to help us, except for Senator Ted Kennedy, and now recently with Rep Dennis Kucinich.

Recollecting those horrible years, I remember my Dad entering the Kent State Tape into evidence in his lawsuits. Lots of folks called Dad Krazy Krause, he would not let this go. 40 years later, it was heartening to realize Dad knew that the tape held the key to the truth at Kent State. It has taken us over 40 years to be able to decipher and once in for all, hear the recorded sounds via Mr. Stuart Allen’s expertise and kgb audio software.

Mr. Allen verified the long-denied ‘order to fire’ at the unarmed students, and surprisingly discovered new evidence in the violent altercation between Mr. Terry Norman and students. Mr. Allen heard Mr. Norman’s later surrendered pistol shoot off four pistol rounds, creating the sniper fire claimed by the national guard. Mr. Norman was a consensual informant for the F.B.I. and working that day. More on Mr. Norman http://bit.ly/gSN9pP and http://bit.ly/994afB

Mr. Norman is one of many present that day, cogs in the wheel delivering four homicides on May 4, 1970 and crossing the line at Kent State, yet Mr. Norman’s actions directly connect the FBI with the command to fire. Mr. Norman’s actions prove the intent to create, as in instigate sniper fire 70 seconds before the guard shot. Now we understand the odd ‘Alright’ in the ‘command to fire’ order.

It is for this reason that I formally request you Mr. President examine the new evidence in this cold case homicide of Kent State. Furthermore I ask you to create an impartial and unaffiliated team to investigate the F.B.I. This is the same instruction I gave Congressman Kucinich.

From Wikipedia: Impartiality is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons.

Mr. President and General Holder, please examine the new evidence in the Kent State Tape.

Sincerely,

Laurel Krause

P.S.   Recent writing on learning the truth at Kent State in 2010, also published at the request of Rep Dennis Kucinich in the 2010 Congressional Record: Truth Emerging in the Kent State Cold Case Homicides http://bit.ly/fgI0h2

*******

Laurel Krause’s 6/9/2011 video on the new Kent State evidence and our call for a Kent State Inquiry in 2011:

Arthur Krause’s response to the slaughter of Allison Krause, his daughter, May, 1970:

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?

In today’s snail mail letter, I also enclosed my father’s words & image:

Yesterday on the Internet I discovered Arthur Krause’s words from 1979 and wish to share them with you. Here’s a picture of united Kent State, May 4th folks at a press conference, taken at the end of their nine year search for justice through the judicial system.

Arthur Krause is the tall man in the back, smoking a cigarette & my mom Doris Krause sits in front of him. My father shared, “The thing that I hope people remember … is that it could happen to their child. I was like everyone else and then it happened to us.”

Arthur and Doris Krause carry on their lives ten years after the incident, but the pain and the lessons of the last ten years are evident. “I think we are all responsible for the killings at Kent. You can’t get away from the hatred being spread by national leaders during that time. That political period was one which bred hate and with Nixon and Rhodes fanning the fires you can expect killings to result.”

Krause, the parent who initially began the quest for justice in the Kent State case continued, “I knew what was going to happen; that justice would not be served, but I wanted to make sure that there was pressure applied. In the beginning the other families were not as believing that nothing would be done; I think they thought I was some sort of radical. But I can tell you that if you don’t stand up for your rights they will be taken away from you just like they were from Allison and the others.”

Arthur and Doris Krause have mixed feelings about the 1979 settlement. “We don’t want the damn money ~ we want the truth. If we had wanted the money I would have accepted the one and a half million dollar bribe I was offered to drop the civil suit, offered to me in the presence of Peter Davies in 1971.

We want the facts out about how the four died. We aren’t afraid of the truth. We aren’t the ones who have been saying ‘no comment’ for the past ten years.”

Arthur and Doris Krause hope the movie would generate more of the same hate mail they have received for the past ten years. “They always point out that my daughter had gravel in her pockets . . . that this was the rationale for killing her . . . why didn’t they throw gravel at her?”

“The political climate is very similar to that in 1970,” Krause added, “Kent State, 1970 means we no longer have our daughter, but it also means something to all Americans. Our court battles establish without a doubt one thing. There is no constitution. There is no Bill of Rights.” ~ Arthur S. Krause

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MendoCoastCurrent, May 4, 2011

Jennifer Schwartz on her cousin Allison Krause at the 41st commemoration of the Kent State Shootings, May 4, 1970

My name is Jennifer Schwartz and I am Allison Krause’s cousin and also among the first generation of our family who never met Allison.

What can I tell you about my beloved cousin? I was less than a year old when she was shot dead on May 4, 1970. Had she not been killed, I would most certainly have known her.

I have spent my life trying to right this wrong in my own way, trying to get closer to her, to know her, endeavoring to honor her and make Allison proud. So I thank you for inviting me here today to tell you some of what I have learned about Allison from books and published articles, from her friends, from our family and from my efforts at the Kent State Truth Tribunal.

Allison Beth Krause was the cherished first of two daughters born to Arthur and Doris Krause, living in Cleveland Heights. Although roughly 10 years older than Allison, my father Marvin Schwartz remembers many summers playing with the Krause girls. My Dad talks about Allison as a sweet, fun, clever, pretty and vivacious girl. Many of Allison’s friends in Cleveland still remember her from those days back in grade school.

In the early sixties, Allison’s family went for Sunday drives out to the country often ending up at Kent, dining at the Robin Hood and enjoying the pastoral campus. Remarkably, at a very early age, Allison made her decision to attend college at Kent State University.

Her father’s job at Westinghouse moved the family to Pittsburgh in the mid-sixties and then on to Wheaton, Maryland where Allison attended John F Kennedy high school. Many of Allison’s classmates were children of government employees, and with them Allison developed an active awareness of global issues and a well-formed understanding of American history, politics and civil rights.

As she found her political voice in high school, Allison joined the young people of those times who were against the ever-expanding war in Vietnam, and the draft lottery. She lent her voice to the calls for peace at demonstrations in Washington DC.

Allison’s father Arthur was a veteran of WW11. Back in the late sixties he was pro-Vietnam, like many of his generation. Allison’s sister, Laurel remembers many heated dinner-table arguments where she and her big sister objected to the war and nuclear weapons. It was a scene like so many other dining room debates back then.  From those debates, Allison knew: As an American she had a right to freedom of speech and a right to engage in peaceful assembly, all guaranteed by the first amendment.

Yet Allison was more than anti-war protester and advocate of civil rights. She was an active, caring person and was considering a career in a helping profession such as art therapy. My aunt Doris Krause recounts this story of Allison’s volunteer work at a hospital for the mentally disabled.  “She would go there at night and play basketball with them… and her biggest day that she had was when she came home and told us that one of the men had talked to her, and he hadn’t talked to anybody in a long period of years.  And she was so gratified by that.  So she had potential.  She was a smart girl and was just cut down.”

In the fall of 1969, Allison started college as a freshman here at Kent State. Her family had recently moved back to Pittsburgh, so Allison was still close to home. Allison lived in Metcalf Hall, and later Engleman, did well academically as an honors student, made friends quickly, and met another student, the love of her life, Barry Levine. Barry describes Allison as “a sweet, intelligent, loving, warm, intelligent, compassionate, creative, funny, intelligent girl.  As bright as they come.”

That fall, Allison traveled to Washington DC, like hundreds of thousands of other young people, taking part in a huge anti-war demonstration and peace rally.

In her last days, Allison reveled in the first Earth Day Celebration held on April 22, 1970. Buckminster Fuller erected a geodesic dome right here on the commons, just a few steps from Allison’s dorm. The following day, April 23rd, was Allison’s 19th birthday. Her family came in from Pittsburgh to celebrate, never imagining this would be the last time they would see her alive.

Allison assembled with others on Friday May 1st as she vehemently disagreed with the U.S. government’s decision to escalate the war and send more troops into Cambodia.  She spent the first weekend of May with friends, doing schoolwork, enjoying the first breath of Spring, but at night, running from the military and helicopters on campus, now occupied by the National Guard, the Highway Patrol, and campus and town police.

On Sunday afternoon May 3rd, Allison spent time outside, socializing with friends and started talking with some guardsmen among the blooming lilacs.  I have heard different accounts of this story, some say Allison placed a flower in the barrel of one Guardsman’s gun, others say the flower was already there. What is certain, is that those moments have been preserved in several photographs. That guardsman’s smiling face is absolutely beaming in the pictures, there with Allison, the flower, his rifle, and the irony and release of tension they all felt in that moment, as human beings who were on opposite sides of a conflict. And when Allison witnessed that guardsman’s superior come along and reprimand him there for having a silly flower in his gun barrel, Allison responded, “What’s the matter with peace? Flowers are better than bullets.”

The next day Allison attended the peace rally at the Victory Bell at noon with her boyfriend Barry. She was unarmed. She was vocal. I do not believe that Allison thought her life might be in danger on her own college campus. Not in America. Surely there weren’t real bullets in those guns… But there were bullets and there was intention to kill protesting students.

My cousin Allison Krause was shot dead in the Prentice parking lot, roughly a football field away from the shooting guardsmen. A steel jacketed, armor piercing bullet fragmented on impact in her left chest, according to the autopsy. She died on the way to the hospital, in Barry’s arms.

Who was my cousin? I wish I could tell you, but as mentioned, I never met her. And still, I stand here to say we will never forget her!

We honor her memory by emulating her actions. Personally, in my professional life as an art therapist, in my volunteer work as a community organizer, as a mother of a little girl named Allison, as a peacemaker, as an earth-conscious consumer, as a citizen and active participant in government… in all of these actions every day of my life, I honor Allison, and all those murdered at Kent State on May 4th.

This time last year, I memorialized the 40th Anniversary in the way I think Allison would have appreciated. With Laurel Krause, Emily Kunstler and the Kent State Truth Tribunal crew, we recorded and preserved the personal narratives of original participants and witnesses of the Kent State Shootings. The emotional healing that we witnessed during our four days together was immense. I encourage you to take a look at our project online at http://www.TruthTribunal.org.

In closing, I must tell you briefly about one powerful piece of  healing that is not viewable in the Kent State Truth Tribunal video archives. On the second day as I was greeting and checking in KSTT participants, a man, whom I later recognized from the photos to be THAT guardsman, the one with the flower in his rifle, came through the tribunal doors to share his truth & find his own healing. He did not want to film his story with us. And yet, he was there. Though he didn’t identify himself by name, he bravely told me that he had been among the guardsmen that weekend in 1970. I remember looking into his eyes as he spoke his truth to me for several long minutes. He simply came, as so many others did last year, to unburden himself, to try to heal his own wounds from Kent State and to connect with the spirit of truth.

Since last May, at KSTT NYC, I greeted and checked in the forensic scientist Stuart Allen, who is Keynote here today. Before our cameras, he examined the Kent State tape.  He verified an order to shoot and exposed suspicious additional gunshots. Listening to that recording, cleaned up by Mr. Allen’s state-of-the-art technology was gut wrenching.

The Krause family asks the federal government to open up an investigation into this new evidence, the Kent State tape. Because we understand, there can never be true healing without truth and justice.  We further encourage our government to issue a formal acknowledgment of the wrongs of Kent State on May 4, 1970… 41 years later, it’s time!

Finally, what I know in my soul is this… that none of the accounts that I have presented to you today can truly do Allison justice without justice being done. Allison believed in a just world.  She put her life on the line for it. Let us never give up in our pursuit of justice and healing at Kent State.

*****************

Watch Jennifer Schwartz’s 5/4/11 speech at the 41st anniversary of the Kent State Shootings ~

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MendoCoastCurrent, May 4, 2011

On May 4, 1970 Fours Students Died and Nine Were Wounded at Kent State.

Please Watch & Learn ~

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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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MendoCoastCurrent, April 23, 2011

Recollections on what would have been my sister Allison Krause’s 60th birthday. Instead at 19, Allison was murdered by the United States government at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 as she protested the Vietnam war & the military occupation of her campus.

Allison had just graduated from JFK High in Maryland the summer of 1969. It was Woodstock Summer http://youtu.be/Vv98-4eOJbU where everywhere in the US, especially in DC, was exploding with political discontent, an escalating war in Vietnam & the feminist movement was finding its voice.

Hope for peace was abound, as well as concern for taking care of mother earth. Probably the innocence of youth yet so many young people were coming together in wishing to create a better world. Allison Krause, my sister, was actively taking part.

Allison’s decision to go to college at Kent State University in the coming Fall was made quite young. Allison & I were born in Cleveland & raised in our early years in Cleveland Heights. As a family on Sundays, we often took drives out in the country.

As far back as I can remember Allison knew she was going to go Kent State University when she went to college. Eating at the Robin Hood restaurant, remembering this warm family memory with Allison loving the pretty campus of Kent State, especially in the spring with the lilacs.

So when Allison made her decision to go to college, Kent State University in Ohio was her only choice & application.

That Summer of ’69 our folks were gone many weekends ~ traveling, finding & buying our new home in Pittsburgh for a move by Fall as my father was transferred to Westinghouse Electric HQ.

It was bittersweet for Allison as she was leaving a closely-knit circle of friends & her Maryland home, yet that Summer I remember weekend parties at our house. In 1969 Allison was 18, I was 14 & I smile ~ the ‘times they were a’changin’ & we were a’groovin’.

Unhappily, our parents forbade Allison from going to Woodstock. I still feel sad about that, thought she would have enjoyed being with her people, that beautiful, pinnacle of a moment in time. For Allison: Jimi Hendrix ~ Angel http://bit.ly/t6on7h

The Fall of 1969, Allison went to college & studied as a freshman at Kent State University. The Krause family had moved to Pittsburgh, PA & I was in junior high back in the ‘burg. This was our second time in Pittsburgh for my dad’s job at Westinghouse.

Remembrance of the Fall into Winter of 1969 is mostly a blur. Can recall that Allison had met the love of her life quickly into being at college, that she had a large circle of friends, was thriving & learning. Allison traveled to Washington DC for a huge anti-war protest that Fall ~ http://youtu.be/AoeWqtjCJ_I She was also making plans to transfer to another college.

In the early Winter, Allison moved from a quad to a single dorm room closer in to the center of campus. She was into her art studies, her relationships & adopted a kitten, naming it Yossarian after the Catch-22 character, more here ~ http://bit.ly/fTEN36

Spring 1970 was also the first Earth Day. On April 22, 1970, my first Earth Day activities included going to an Earth Day event in Pittsburgh at Flagstaff Hill. More on Earth Day ~ http://bit.ly/gvbApV

Allison went to an even better venue for her Earth Day celebration in that it included Buckminster Fuller visiting the Kent State University campus in an expo, erecting his own geodesic dome on the commons. On Buckminster Fuller ~ http://bit.ly/fZRvIB

And Springtime meant birthday time ~ April 23, 1970 was Allison’s 19th birthday so I went to visit my big sis away at college, my first weekend adventure on my own, meaning without the folks in charge. Taking the train from Pittsburgh to Kent in just under three hours, Allison met me at the train tracks.

What a treasure that we were able to hang together on our own as sisters. We went to see the new movie ‘Woodstock’ together that weekend as my sister showed me her college world & introduced me to her friends.

My folks picked me up to go home that Sunday. Looking back now, realizing for the first time how blessed our family was to visit together that weekend.

Less than ten days later, on May 4, 1970 Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandy Scheurer & William Schroeder were killed by U.S. military gunfire. As Allison died, she was protesting the Vietnam war & the military occupation of her college campus by the U.S. government.

Sharing Allison as her family knew her, video by Walter T. Wynn, ‘Dear Allison’

Another video also by Walter T. Wynn in memory of Allison Krause who said, “What’s the matter with PEACE? Flowers are Better than Bullets” the day before her death by gunfire ~ http://bit.ly/fdGT6Z

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Anderson Valley Advertiser, February 2, 2011

The inimitable Laurel Krause of the Mendocino Coast almost single-handedly revived national interest in the 1970 Kent State shootings, and has now begun the creation of the Peaceful Party with 400 facebook friends. The Peaceful Party aims at “world peace, global justice, human rights, cannabis rights and environmental harmony,” and you can’t fault Laurel and Friends for thinking small. “Let’s,” Laurel invites us, “come together as we spread PEACE in our world via art, film, social media, news, political actions, peace candidates and good old rock ‘n roll.”

Join in, join us at the Peaceful Party.

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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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Published in the U.S. Congressional Record on December 14, 2010, Volume 156, sponsored by Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

Laurel Krause, December 9, 2010

Arthur Krause walking the Kent State massacre site

The government crossed the line
in the killing of four young people
in the killing of our Allison
as she rallied against the war on May 4, 1970
A civil rights battle on U.S. soil in our times
Kent State is personal for us yet important for all

Arthur Krause knew the importance
of the Kent State Tape
My dad knew it held the truth
of what happened at Kent State
even though back in 1970
and until just recently
truth from the Kent State Tape was locked up
in a jumbled maze of analog antiquity
Dad passed away over 20 years ago
He knew the truth in the Kent State Tape

A patriot and WWII soldier
Dad believed the American dream
When Allison his firstborn
a freshman at Kent State University
was protesting the Vietnam war on her campus
He never anticipated the American apocalypse
our family would endure
at the hands of our government

Like Sandy, Jeff and Bill
our Allison was shot dead at Kent State
Homicide by national guard gunfire
Dad knew they got away with murder
at Kent State University
just after noon on May 4, 1970

Over the next ten years
Dad sought truth and justice at Kent State
demanding to know what happened to our Allison
Taking it to the courts yielded only
road blocks, cover-ups and threats
Every effort to uncover and face
the deadly inhumanity of Kent State
was completely thwarted

A series of seamless stonewalls
Never examining the wrongs of Kent State
No accountability for the killings of Kent State
Not one person or group ever held responsible
Not one apology uttered

Yet governmental claims were consistent:
There was no order to fire
The Guard reacted to sniper fire
The Guard felt under attack from the students

A government-fabricated pack of lies
that has now transformed
into the recorded history
of the killings of Kent State
That is … until 2010
and the examination of the Kent State Tape

40 years after the shootings
the Kent State Tape that Dad held so dear
that was evidence in his court cases
finally examined using
tools of state-of-the-art audio technology
unlocking the true record of what occurred
at Kent State on May 4, 1970

Sounds expertly analyzed by
world-class forensic scientist Stuart Allen
commissioned by the Cleveland Plain Dealer
to explore the Kent State Tape
for the very first time

Whether copy or original is moot
Truth is recorded in the Kent State Tape
A tape does not remember, forget or change its story
The Kent State Tape does not lie

At the Kent State Truth Tribunal in NYC
October 2010 with Stuart Allen examining
Hearing and unraveling the labyrinth of deadly sounds
including shots and national guard commands
and a violent altercation with FBI-paid Terry Norman
all contributing to the shootings at Kent State 1970

The government denied
orders to fire were isolated, heard and verified
orders of Guard, All Right, Prepare to Fire
orders of Guard, Fi-
with the last word of the deadly order stepped on
by a barrage of 67 shots over 13 seconds

At unarmed students changing classes at noon
At unarmed students more than a football field away
At unarmed students rallying against the Vietnam War
At unarmed students rallying against the military occupation of their campus
in a battle where American dissent was also slaughtered

Editors note: Entered into the United States House of Representative Congressional Record on December 14, 2010, Volume 156, sponsored by Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio at the request of Laurel Krause, whose sister Allison Krause was shot and killed as she protested the Vietnam War at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. Laurel is the co-founder and director of the Kent State Truth Tribunal.

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Laurel Krause, November 29, 2010

The government crossed the line
in the killing of four young people
in the killing of our Allison
as she rallied against the war on May 4, 1970
A civil rights battle on U.S. soil in our times
Kent State is personal for us yet important for all

Representative Dennis Kucinich
upon learning of the new audio truth
discovered in the Kent State Tape
Launched a Kent State congressional inquiry
and scheduled a hearing
Calling for swift examination of the new evidence
found in the Kent State Tape
Scheduling a Kent State hearing before Congress
before the Domestic Policy subcommittee
for Wednesday, December 1st, this week

Yet In these political times
with Congress soon adjourning for 2010
and our government’s concerted effort
to keep truth at Kent State covered up
Kucinich’s Congressional Kent State Hearing is
AT HIGH RISK OF CANCELLATION

Allison’s family asks all who read this
LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD
Join our urgent Kent State Call-2-Action
Demand Truth at Kent State in 2010
Send a note to http://kucinich.house.gov/Contact/
Make a call to 202-225-5871
Send inbound calls to Representative Kucinich
HOLD the KENT STATE HEARING
this week, on Wednesday December 1st at 2 p.m.

Arthur Krause knew the importance
of the Kent State Tape
My dad knew it held the truth
of what happened at Kent State
even though back in 1970
and until just recently
truth from the Kent State Tape was locked up
in a jumbled maze of analog antiquity
Dad passed away over 20 years ago
He knew the truth in the Kent State Tape

A patriot and WWII soldier
Dad believed the American dream
When Allison his firstborn
a freshman at Kent State University
was protesting the Vietnam war on her campus
He never anticipated the American apocalypse
our family would endure
at the hands of our government

Like Sandy, Jeff and Bill
our Allison was shot dead at Kent State
Homicide by national guard gunfire
Dad knew they got away with murder
at Kent State University
just after noon on May 4, 1970

Over the next ten years
Dad sought truth and justice at Kent State
demanding to know what happened to our Allison
Taking it to the courts yielded only
road blocks, cover-ups and threats
Every effort to uncover and face
the deadly inhumanity of Kent State
was completely thwarted

A series of seamless stonewalls
Never examining the wrongs of Kent State
No accountability for the killings of Kent State
Not one person or group ever held responsible
Not one apology uttered

Yet governmental claims were consistent:
There was no order to fire
The Guard reacted to sniper fire
The Guard felt under attack from the students

A government-fabricated pack of lies
that has now transformed
into the recorded history
of the killings of Kent State
That is … until 2010
and the examination of the Kent State Tape

40 years after the shootings
the Kent State Tape that Dad held so dear
that was used as evidence in his court cases
finally examined using
tools of state-of-the-art audio technology
unlocking the true record of what occurred
at Kent State on May 4, 1970

Sounds expertly analyzed by
world-class forensic scientist Stuart Allen
commissioned by the Cleveland Plain Dealer
to explore the Kent State Tape
for the very first time

Whether copy or original is moot
Truth is recorded in the Kent State Tape
A tape does not remember, forget or change its story
The Kent State Tape does not lie

At the Kent State Truth Tribunal in NYC
October 2010 with Stuart Allen examining
Hearing and unraveling the labyrinth of deadly sounds
including shots and national guard commands
and a violent altercation with FBI-paid Terry Norman
all contributing to the shootings at Kent State 1970

The government denied
orders to fire were isolated, heard and verified
orders of Guard, Prepare to Fire
orders of Alright, Guard, Fiii-
with the last word of the deadly order stepped on
by a barrage of 67 shots over 13 seconds

At unarmed students changing classes at noon
At unarmed students more than a football field away
At unarmed students rallying against the Vietnam War
At unarmed students rallying against the military occupation of their campus
in a battle where American dissent was also slaughtered

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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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CALL, EMAIL & FAX the Dept of Justice now. Join us in demanding Attorney Gen’l Eric Holder: OPEN AN INQUIRY into the shootings at 1970 Kent State & EXAMINE the Kent State Tape now. ~ Email: oipl@usdoj.gov, Call: 202-514-3465, Fax: 202-514-8336 Please share widely to help spread the word

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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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Backs Rep Kucinich in Call to Open Inquiry

MendoCoastCurrent, October 12, 2010

The Kent State Truth Tribunal this weekend heard testimony from forensic audio scientist Stuart Allen that establishes clear orders to shoot live ammunition at unarmed protesting students by the Ohio National Guard. The tape also reveals startling evidence of an altercation with distinct gunshots from a separate weapon fired directly prior to the National Guard’s call to “Prepare to fire!”. This same new evidence has prompted Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich to call for a congressional inquiry into the Kent State shootings. “Certainly we owe it to the memory of the students who lost their lives and their families and we owe it to the American people to find out the truth,” Kucinich told Fox 8 News in Cleveland, Ohio.

The audio evidence of a separate .38 caliber gun firing 70 seconds prior to the guardsmen’s weapons suggests there may have been a provocation prior to the shooting of students. Photographs and testimonies point to the involvement of FBI informant, Terry Norman, who is believed to have fired the weapon. Several students place him on campus that day working in tandem with the Ohio National Guard, carrying a camera and a pistol.  “Now we have a tape that proves conclusively that four shots were fired before the National Guard volley,” Congressman Dennis Kucinich said. “That has implications that are tremendous. Who knows what would have happened if those shots hadn’t been fired.” Terry Norman has not commented about his activities at Kent State since the day of the shootings and his whereabouts are currently unknown. Kent State family members, as well as Representative Kucinich, have called for Mr. Norman to step forward to deliver information about his involvement at Kent State.

The Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT) was convened by family members of students killed at Kent State in response to forty years of impunity for the shootings. No one has been held accountable for the deaths and injuries that resulted when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students at a war protest on campus. According to Laurel Krause, KSTT founder and sister of Allison Krause, who was killed that day, “The audio tape not only introduces compelling evidence that there was an order to fire on students, but also establishes that an additional weapon was fired just prior to the shootings, suggesting that the full scope of what took place that day has not yet been established. We feel strongly that a government inquiry is long overdue and support wholeheartedly Rep. Kucinich’s call for a congressional inquiry. We also encourage Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to respond to this new evidence by examining the audio tape and pursuing their own investigation.”

The 40 year-old audio tape was recorded from the window ledge of a Kent State student’s dormitory at the time of the shootings. The Kent State tape started recording minutes before the shooting and ran until after all of the shots were fired, verifying an audible order to fire. According to Stuart Allen, who has been examining forensic audio evidence for nearly four decades since the Watergate scandal: “The order to shoot clearly does warrant a reopening of the investigation and the outcome will have a profound effect on our understanding of what took place. This technology and information was not available at the time of the investigations and multiple hearings on the Kent State shootings. ” Stuart Allen’s KSTT testimony can be seen at bit.ly/dakhWw

Close to 100 personal narratives have already been recorded and preserved from people of all backgrounds who’s lives were impacted by the killings at Kent State in 1970, representing a comprehensive oral archive of this historic event. It is the first American truth-seeking initiative to be broadcast live on the Internet on MichaelMoore.com

For more information, visit: http://TruthTribunal.org

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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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MendoCoastCurrent, August 12, 2010

This last weekend on August 7 and 8, the Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT) traveled to San Francisco to record and preserve narratives from west coast-based original witnesses to and participants in the 1970 Kent State shootings.

My sister Allison Krause was one of the four students killed at Kent State and our tribunal has provided an opportunity for me to follow in my father Arthur Krause’s footsteps and discover the truth for my family. My father, who for over ten years fought for justice in the courts, would add, “and not let our government get away with murder at Kent State”.

Throughout our recording sessions with the KSTT, I have felt the presence of Allison and my dad and I wanted to share him with you in this photograph, taken in 1975 at a candlelit memorial on the 5th anniversary of Allison’s death. After we lost Allison, Arthur Krause made it his business—until the end of his life—to get the truth out about Kent State and this year I feel he is joining our call for truth at Kent State in 2010.

Our second KSTT session in San Francisco (our first was this year at the 40th anniversary of the shootings, in Ohio in May) enabled us to see, hear and record critical details and first-hand observations. Our west coast participants, coming from vastly different walks of life, gave testimonials that provided greater insight and detail into the lead up to the Kent State shootings, the shootings themselves and the events that followed. A clearer picture is beginning to emerge about the 67 shots fired over 13 seconds by the national guard at unarmed students protesting the U.S. expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia at Kent State University in Ohio on May 4th 1970.

For the first time at the KSTT, we heard from participants with military training and background shine a light on the mechanics of the shootings at Kent State and the factors that came together to create this egregious military action.

Take a look around today and you’ll see that the lessons learned 40 years ago had a pronounced effect in silencing a generation. Despite the perspective we now have as a nation that the Vietnam War cost us dearly, the spirit of protest has only diminished over the past four decades. I think back on the passion and social consciousness of my peers and the older kids I admired when Allison was at Kent and I can see how badly scarred this feisty, compassionate sixties generation eventually became. Pulling out weapons set aside to defend America and turning them on its children betrayed for many some of the basic social contracts we all took for granted. I believe those wounds have still not healed and continue to plague this country.

We learned about live ammunition and training procedures from a former member of the Ohio National Guard, stationed in the same shooting troop deployed to Kent State. This brave Guardsman from the sixties reported on the use of steel-jacketed, armor-piercing bullets—bullets designed to be used against tanks and structures. These deadly bullets were deployed against Kent State students that day, shooting into a peaceful assembly of unarmed 19- and 20-year-old college kids as they changed classes during lunch time and attended a peace rally on that Ohio spring day.

Howard Ruffner, a student at Kent State and a stringer for Life Magazine at the time of the shootings, arrived at KSTT-SF with a huge stack of photographs he took on May 4, 1970. As an independent observer that weekend, Howard told us he photographed whatever he found—chronicling the exact movements before, during and after the shootings.

Howard shared, “The worst thing that happened to the guard from my perspective is: they were being yelled at and given the finger. It’s hard to understand what would cause people, close to their age, to turn and fire at people, and willingly do so.”

He shared with us his firm belief that the shootings were planned and intentional. “I have no idea what caused that first shot unless it was a planned activity because they got to a marked place, there’s a dirt path between that corner [of Taylor Hall] and the pagoda,” Ruffner told us. “You wouldn’t even have to give an order if you wanted to make a plan, because it’s right there. You get to that place, turn, shoot.”

Ruffner went on to describe how he believed the Kent State students were specifically targeted by the national guard. “It had to be a planned event because of the soldiers turn[ed] in unison. The firing of the weapons and so many shots in such a very short period of time. The fact that they could turn and have specific targets in mind when they got to the top… Some of the guardsmen turned and looked back on occasion on the way up the hill so that by the time they got to that high point they knew who they were going to shoot at.”

Gail Ewing, the first Ohio National Guard to participate, bravely offered his experience from 1964-67, with the same unit involved in the shootings at Kent State 1970.

Sharing chilling, military detail Ewing commented, “We had no training for riot control. I was sent to Cleveland for the riots in 1966 and we were given tear gas grenades and live ammunition and put on guard duty with no instruction on when to load your weapon or when to use tear gas. They just passed it out and put us on guard duty.” This is not unlike the behavior of the Ohio National Guard troop on Blanket Hill at Kent on May 4th.

Ewing added, “In terms of the decision-making, that order of live ammunition probably came from higher than local company commanders, it was at the state level or maybe even federal level,” confirming that government officials were directly involved in the killings at Kent State.

Linda Seeley, an activist witness to the events of May 4th, provided a heartfelt look into the elements of fear utilized that day. Here’s her take on the aftermath of Kent State, “The idea that these people could get away with cold-blooded murder in the face of witnesses—hundreds, thousands of witnesses—and never have justice done, only have the innocent being[s] accused [as] perpetrators and only have the witnesses live in fear… There’s a key here to looking at ourselves as a society and what we can do, not only realizing what [we] can do, the power, but realizing how long a wound lasts.”

We’re still processing all of this new information and insight from the narratives we recorded and preserved in San Francisco, and I invite you to take a look at our findings to discover the truth for yourselves.

This image of Arthur Krause was forwarded to me just this morning. Seeing my dad gives inspires me to pursue our right to know the truth and fight for justice at Kent State.

I’m also drawn to a recent comment from a facebook friend on the relevance of what we may learn from Kent State:

Freedom of speech and the right of assembly must be protected. The ability of the government to preserve order is a necessity in a civilized nation. These two elements must be balanced, but it is incumbent on those who are armed to ensure that ONLY those who cannot otherwise be prevented from harming others be subject to potentially lethal violence.

Our San Francisco event also brought Lester Chambers of the Chambers Brothers to ‘share his truth’ on Kent State as his recording of ‘Time Has Come Today’ was at the top of the charts when the Kent State shootings happened. For us, he performed ‘People Get Ready’, expressing his wish to amend the words of this song to: “People get ready there’s a CHANGE a’coming!” Please listen and get ready for the change a’coming!

The Kent State Truth Tribunal, please visit www.truthtribunal.org

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Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Kent State Truth Tribunal, please go to www.TruthTribunal.org and to support our efforts.

MendoCoastCurrent, February 2010

Allison wants the Truth Out in 2010, won't you help?Allison Krause was slain at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 by the Ohio National Guard. She was protesting against the VietNam war on her Ohio university campus.

The shots that killed Allison came from the Ohio National Guard that were occupying Kent State University over the first four days of May 1970.

Just before the shots of the Kent State Massacre, the guard turned and marched away from the protesting students. The guard continued up a hill, stopped and then turned in unison. Also in unison, they discharged 13 seconds of 67 armor-piercing bullets from their M1 rifles into a group of unarmed, protesting students, most of them over a football field distance away.

This same troop of guardsmen have continuously claimed that there was not an order to shoot.

Forty years later, everyone involved with Kent State–everyone that has walked this path of horror–knows the truth.

That when the Ohio National Guard marched up the hill and all turned in unison to discharge their weapons in unison…it is evident that it was their intention to shoot as they aimed their weapons at unarmed protesters. Some one made a decision and, as in all military situations, this troop of guardsmen followed orders.

With the advent of findings from a May 7, 2010-reported investigation of the Kent State audio tape by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, new evidence has surfaced to isolate and verify the verbal ‘prepare to fire’ order given by the Ohio National Guard seconds before shooting their weapons.

The trouble is that history does not report the truth at Kent State. And this is the reason for us to gather together for a truth tribunal…to share our stories, personal narratives..to document and honor these truths from all participants.

Allison calls for the national guardsmen to now share their ‘real’ truth at this tribunal. She calls for the truth in 2010!

Allison stood for peace and harmony and she is known for her words, “Flowers are better than bullets.”

This year we all call for the truth to finally be known about what happened at Kent State in 1970!

********

The Kent State Truth Tribunal invites your participation, support and tax-deductible, charitable donations. If the Truth at 1970 Kent State matters to you, please join us here.

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Editor’s Note: Since January 1, 2010, we have been working on the Kent State Truth Tribunal, please go to www.TruthTribunal.org to learn more about our efforts to reveal the truth at Kent State in 2010. Thanks!

laurelnallison2On May 4, 2009 I participated in the 39th Annual Kent State University Memorial and gave this talk:

My name is Laurie Krause. I am the sister of Allison Krause, the daughter of Arthur and Doris Krause.

I want to thank you for gathering together today. It’s an honor to be here at Kent State University to participate. I’d also like to thank the student body and May 4th Task Force for inviting me.

I am here to honor people who follow their truths, to respect people who live their ideals, and to focus on the healing of Kent State and our community at large.

39 years ago today, my sister, Allison Krause, was murdered by the Ohio National Guard for protesting and demonstrating against the Vietnam War. Also killed were Jeffrey, Sandra and William, and nine other Kent State students were seriously injured. I’m pleased to see a number of the surviving protesters here today, thank you for being here.

Allison was a freshman at Kent State who was incredibly passionate about life. She was a peace-loving, confident, altruistic, honor-student wanting to get the most out of college, and she was also deeply in love with her boyfriend, Barry.

As my older sister, Allison was someone I looked up to. She was so creative. I still look up to her and continue to be inspired that the whole world may be changed by any real person, like you or me, walking forward with hope and living our ideals and truths.

Let me ask you, today, are you living your truth?

Allison vehemently disagreed with the US government and its involvement in Vietnam so she assembled with many others and protested on Friday, the first of May, not knowing that she was putting her life in jeopardy, yet feeling strongly that the actions committed by our government were wrong.

On that day, a group of 500 students assembled to protest the US invasion of Cambodia. Rallies were planned for Monday to continue protesting the expansion of the Vietnam War.

The Ohio National Guard was sent in on Saturday and Kent State became a war zone overnight. Students were tear gassed and wounded by bayonets during demonstrations taking place over the weekend.

The ROTC building was burned down in retaliation for the students being attacked for expressing their right to protest and assemble.

Press conferences held by Gov. Rhodes called protesters un-American. Rhodes declared a state of emergency, banned any further demonstrations and imposed martial law at Kent. Curfews were set. Students had to run from Guardsmen on campus late at night and Allison ran from them that night. Students couldn’t return to their dorm rooms and were stuck wherever they could find shelter for the night.

Over the following days, the Kent State University campus ignited into one of our country’s worst nightmares.

As tensions heightened over the weekend, Allison called home to my parents to let them know what was happening on campus. My father told Allison to be cautious; he even asked her to back down and not involve herself.

My parents, like most parents, were coming from a place of love for their daughter. They wanted her to be safe.

But Allison was aware of the risks involved. Still, she never considered not protesting against something she was incredibly passionate about. The Vietnam War had just taken a turn for the worse, it was a time when hope for peace was fading.

To Allison, it was an obligation to show dissension to the government invading Cambodia. She made her decision, and we all know the outcome.

That Monday, despite school officials attempting to ban the demonstration by sending out leaflets, more than 2,000 people arrived to protest the government’s actions.

The dispel process began that morning with leaders telling student protestors to go home or be arrested. Students responded to these infringements of rights by throwing rocks. Wearing gas masks, the National Guard used tear gas to exert control over the growing crowds.

After some time with a lot of maneuvering Guardsmen turned in unison and took aim.

The shooting lasted 13 seconds.

Dumdum bullets were used – a type of bullet that’s illegal in warfare – and explodes on impact.

My sister died in Barry’s arms.

Allison’s death symbolizes the importance of our right to protest and speak our truths freely.

The day after the shooting, my father Arthur Krause spoke on television, telling the public how Allison’s death shall not be in vain.

Afterwards, my parents followed their truth through the legal system and in the courts over the next nine years. They sought the truth about Kent State and the reason for the murder of their daughter … going all the way to the US Supreme Court. Their final appeal was settled and the federal government issued a statement of regret.

It’s no secret that my family holds Nixon, Rhodes and the State of Ohio responsible.

Also, with the recently re-discovered audio tape, proof of an order to shoot has been found.

We now know that our government intentionally committed this deadly act against the youth of 1970, calling them ‘bums’ as they protested the Cambodian Invasion.

Triggers were not pulled accidentally at Kent State. What happened was malicious, what happened was irresponsible, what happened was evil.

The shooting was at best, without any forethought, and at worst, with total forethought. Firing on a group of unarmed students, who were simply exercising their First Amendment rights to express dissent with their government was a crime.

What do we do with an order to shoot? What can you do when the government gives permission to use ultimate force, to use deadly force, against its dissenters?

It was the government’s goal to make a defining statement and shut down student protest across the country that day…and they did…for years!

There is no such thing as a true democracy when this happens.

The local, state and federal governments never accepted responsibility for the murder of Allison, Jeffrey, Sandra and William and the injuries sustained by nine others that occurred 39 years ago today.

The people injured in the protests are reminded of it everyday.

The Kent State shooting has changed all of our lives forever, both on the inside and the outside. My family lost its eldest child and were robbed from seeing her blossom in her life past 19 years. I lost my only sister and I miss her each day.

Looking back, did the Kent State protest and killings make a difference?

Well, there was a huge response by Americans.

The Kent State shooting single-handedly created the only nationwide student strike with over 8 million students from high schools to universities speaking out and holding rallies afterward.

And Jackson State also culminated in murderous acts in a similar quest to silence student protest.

We became a nation at war with itself.

But how did we let it get that far? How did this happen?

People will never forget that day at Kent State. Today marks an event that still hits deep for so many of us.

People who were directly involved, people who believe in the Bill of Rights and the freedom to disagree with the government, people who continue to share a vision of harmony and peace for all. We’re all active participants; we are all involved in what happened.

Today is about remembrance, honor, respect and a focal point for a change in the way we handle dissension with governmental actions.

What have we learned? What can we take away from this horrible event?

For starters, we must each take responsibility for what happened so we may learn from the past, to learn from our mistakes.

First, I’m interested in learning more about the re-discovered audio recording from a student’s window ledge during the actual shooting. With new recording and audio technologies, we have revealed that ‘order to shoot.’

The order to shoot has always been a concern. In fact, each and every governmental or military official throughout the legal battle has stated under oath that there was never an order to shoot.

However, I do not accept their words and I ultimately believe they perjured themselves. There is no way the National Guard could march uphill away from the crowd – to turn in unison after reaching the top, and to shoot into the crowd – without premeditated forethought. Their bullets murdered students from over a football field away. There is no way this could ever be accomplished without an order to shoot.  (Click to hear tape.)

Now with this re-discovered tape recording, we finally have proof that an order to shoot was given.

With this tape, it is very much my belief that until the truth is brought to light here, the Kent State Killings will continue to remain an ugly, unknown, unaccounted-for wound.

Case in point, just a little over a week ago Kent State students had another brush with aggressive police action during College Fest, a block party where 60 people were arrested and rubber bullets were shot into the crowd for ‘crowd control.’

People were shot for no reason, arrested for not disbanding, and fires started in the streets.

At an event with no political subtext, we can see how much kindling there already is, waiting for a spark to ignite an explosion of extreme violence. It’s still there!

We’re still seeing the same tension of the Kent State shooting that happened 39 years ago, today. The cause and effect is still active here at Kent State.

Unless we heal these wounds, they shall continue festering.

Instead of focusing on our differences, let’s focus on what brings us together.

Right now, at this point in time, it is critically important that we work together in harmony to benefit all.

We can’t perpetuate this us/them polarization of constant reaction to what’s happening around us anymore. I mean, how’s that working for us? Is that working?

So, how do you heal a community, a nation? Or should I ask, how do we heal ourselves?

Each day as we live our truths, our intentions capture a healing, beautiful, peaceful essence for positive change.

Despite harsh criticism by local residents, even by her own president, Allison and others continued on.

Allison believed in making a difference. Being anti-war and pro-peace and harmony, she was called to action. Although it was not her clear intention, Allison spoke, participated in and died for what she believed in.

The spirit of Allison asks “What are we but what we stand for?”

Don’t hope for a new tomorrow, live it today and live your truth each day. We all make a difference by speaking our truths against all odds.

Through-out my life I looked to my big sister for inspiration. Allison taught me the importance of living a life of intention and truth and I am now consciously and busily speaking my truths.

That is Allison’s message and it not just for me.

I want to close the speech by sharing with you how I have the spirit of Allison in my life as I live on the Northern California coast.

A few years ago under the Bush Administration, a major utility company and the federal government wanted to begin exploring wave energy renewable energy technologies in the Pacific Ocean near where I live.

As it progressed, the administration was very gung-ho on exploring wave technologies with a mentality of ‘throwing technology into the ocean and let’s see what happens!’

In March 2008, I marched for the Mendocino Wave Energy Moratorium, to be a voice for protecting the marine environment, to slow it down for proper environmental research to be conducted and to involve the community in this project.

In 2007 I also began publishing a blog called MendoCoastCurrent. I did this as my personal, political act and operate as the Wave Energy Blogger and an environmental activist now.

Allison showed me that it is my responsibility to live and speak my truth. If I do not agree with what’s happening, it is my right to protest, assemble and voice my concerns.

Since then I’ve encountered quite a few unforeseen obstacles and hostile harassment, yet I still believe that even in the face of opposing forces and arrest, I must fight my good fight…and keep on, keeping on! Allison whispers this in my ear.

Let’s stand up for what is right and best for all. We must protest against injustices and use our voices to speak out when we disagree with what’s happening.

On the Mendocino coast as all looked lost regarding the negative effects of wave energy with mounting environmental concerns regarding this nascent technology in our ocean, President Obama was inaugurated.

Obama and his administration bring us so much good news. They are approaching renewable energy technology from an environmentally-safe perspective along with incorporating community aims and input now. And that massive utility company is following suit.

Environmental concerns in creating safe renewable energy in my community may now be possible!

And I feel Allison smiling!

We must still remain ever vigilant yet I’ve found a great deal of hope and comfort in what I’ve seen these past one hundred days of Obama.

I’m hopeful that we may become more conscious of our use of our precious resources, in using and generating our electricity and in fueling our vehicles.

I’m hopeful that the truth about Kent State will someday be known.

As we learn to speak our truth, even in the face of danger and opposition, we bring change and harmony.

So I ask you…and I ask you for Allison as well…how are you speaking your truth today?

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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.

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 27, 2010

On Aug 7-8, 2010 filmmaker Michael Moore will livecast the hearings of the Kent State Truth Tribunal, streaming in real-time the accounts of participants and witnesses to the events surrounding the 1970 Kent State shootings, that left four students dead and nine injured. This livecast is a continuation of the first real-time broadcast of a truth-seeking initiative on Kent State and will be broadcast on www.MichaelMoore.com from 9am-5pm PT. The Tribunal in San Francisco follows a four-day tribunal in Kent, Ohio in early May which marked the 40th anniversary of the campus shootings and assembled over 70 testimonies.

The Kent State Truth Tribunal in May resulted in an outpouring of original participant testimonies, some who shared their stories for the first time since the shootings, forty years ago. Demand for participation was immense at the 40th anniversary yet many witnesses and participants in the events surrounding the shootings were not able to travel to Ohio.

“San Francisco was a cultural and political hub in the sixties and seventies and it is no accident that so many young people scarred by the events of Kent State headed west after the tragic events of May 1970. Forty years later, the west remains a progressive mecca and many Kent State participants made the west coast their home, like me. We will collect their experiences of the Kent State shootings to continue to try to learn the truth about Kent State in 2010,” said Laurel Krause, tribunal founder and sister of Allison Krause, one of four students killed at Kent.

The Kent State Truth Tribunal was convened by family members of students killed at Kent State in order to record and preserve the stories of those directly affected by the shootings and reveal the truth of what happened on that day 40 years ago. The Ohio National Guard, who opened fire on the protesters, has never publicized the findings of its internal investigation into command responsibility for the shootings.

Michael Moore commented on the truth tribunal: “40 years after the Kent State killings, justice still has not been served. The Kent State Truth Tribunal brings us closer to that goal by sharing first-hand accounts with the public. I am grateful for their efforts and hopeful that some day the truth will come out.”

Three days after the original Kent State Truth Tribunal the Cleveland Plain Dealer broke a major story about a recorded order to fire given to the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970. Then on June 15th, in the U.K., British Prime Minister David Cameron apologized for the killings of Bloody Sunday, a strikingly similar event in 1972 where British paratroopers fired on demonstrators, killing 14 people.

Tribunal organizers are asking the United States government to acknowledge the ‘wrongs’ of May 4, 1970, in the hope of reclaiming what was lost that day – freedom to protest and to peacefully assemble and the democratic right to question the government and hold it accountable for wrongdoings.

The Truth Tribunal is generating a comprehensive historical record of the Kent State massacre. Interviews are being conducted by award-winning filmmaker Emily Kunstler and like the 40th anniversary hearings, will be simultaneously livecast on the home page of www.MichaelMoore.com. Archived interviews can be found on http://TruthTribunal.org/testimonials. The footage and mementos from the tribunal will be physically archived and available for viewing by the public as part of the permanent collection at the renowned Tamiment Library at New York University.

The west coast tribunal will take place over the weekend of August 7 & 8, 2010 at 150 Green Street, San Francisco, California. Organizers are asking for all original participants and witnesses of the event surrounding the 1970 Kent State shootings to pre-register at www.TruthTribunal.org/preregister. An East Coast Tribunal will follow in New York City on October 9 & 10.

On May 4, 1970 the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students protesting America’s invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. In a day that changed America, four students were killed and nine were wounded as they protested against the war. The incident triggered national outrage in a country already divided. In immediate response to the Kent State shootings, more than four million students rose up in dissent across 900 campuses, generating the only nationwide student protest in U.S. history. No one has been held responsible for the deaths and injuries that resulted from the shootings.

For more information, visit: http://www.truthtribunal.org

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 21, 2010

Back in spring 1970, just after the shootings at Kent State, the Kent State University (KSU) campus went on lockdown and every KSU student was forced to leave within hours, many for good. Since we formed the Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT), I have heard many KSTT participants recollect their experiences driving out west immediately after. I can picture this mass exodus of Kent Staters championing the back-to-land movement of the sixties and early seventies, in search of a safe haven, close to nature. I can relate as the west coast called to me years later.

Since so many original participants and witnesses that live on the west coast could not make it back to Kent for the 40th anniversary of the shootings, we are now gearing up for our San Francisco Tribunal on August 7 and 8 from 9-5pm.

Every original participant and witness of the 1970 Kent State shootings is invited to come to San Francisco to “share their truth” at the Kent State Truth Tribunal on August 7 and 8. Please pre-register here: http://TruthTribunal.org/preregister

As the first new media, truth-seeking initiative, the Kent State Truth Tribunal will continue to broadcast live at http://MichaelMoore.com on August 7 & 8 from 9am to 5pm Pacific, each weekend day. Every narrative will be livecast from our studio into your home via Michael Moore’s website, so be sure to watch!

We know the 1970 Kent State shootings wounded more than nine protesters – Kent State wounded a generation. Every young man facing the Vietnam draft and every person protesting the war saw themselves ‘shot dead’ in America that day. These wounds have not healed. The true story of the killings of Kent State remains untold, unknown and unrecorded.

The truth about Kent State will help to heal this generations pain. To enable this, we call for the United States government to acknowledge the ‘wrongs’ of May 4, 1970. We are reclaiming what was lost that day – freedom to protest and to peacefully assemble and our democratic right to question our government and hold it accountable for wrongdoings.

Gathering the collective stories of the witnesses of this seminal event in the history of American protest is our call to begin this assembly.

We’re focusing our gaze on San Francisco in early August and we continue on our path toward healing at our next tribunal in New York City on October 9 and 10.

Mark your calendars to watch the Kent State Truth Tribunal in San Francisco from your home computer at MichaelMoore.com. The truth at Kent State will broadcast live through the testimonials of witnesses and participants of the 1970 Kent State shootings.

Please join us.

Attend: August 7 and 8 in San Francisco from 9am to 5pm Pacific. To pre-register: http://TruthTribunal.org/preregister KSTT pre-registration guarantees your space and participation is free.

Watch: From 9am to 5pm, Pacific, you’ll see ‘live, streaming Kent State truth’ at http://MichaelMoore.com.

Questions?  ContactKSTT@gmail.com

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MendoCoastCurrent, filmed May 1, 2010

LaurelKrauseKSTTKent2010Watch Laurel Krause in her Kent State Truth Tribunal testimonial, May 1, 2010 in this live stream video.
Laurel Krause’s KSTT livestream 5/4/10

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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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The Plain Dealer Editorial Board, May 12, 2010

Dozens of investigators, from the FBI to the Presidential Commission on Campus Unrest, reviewed the 1970 Kent State University shootings, but none could resolve the central mystery: Why did Ohio National Guardsmen pivot and pull the trigger in lockstep when they fired from the university’s Blanket Hill?

Over the years, there was no concrete evidence that the Guard had orders to fire.

Now there is, thanks to a sophisticated analysis of an amateur recording, according to a remarkable story by Plain Dealer Reporter John Mangels this week.

Gov. Ted Strickland should follow up on these intriguing findings and create a commission to study the tape, incident reports and eyewitness testimony and give a full accounting of that tragic day — not for the courts, but for the sake of the historical record.

Likewise, the U.S. and Ohio attorneys general should consider whether the new audio evidence is sufficient to reopen their inquiries and follow up with attempts to verify the tape’s analysis.

A contentious court case over the shootings, which killed four people and wounded nine, was settled in 1979. Ohio paid $675,000 to victims and survivors. There is no need to reopen it.

And it’s true that some important questions may never be answered. Analysis of the tape, for instance, sheds no light on who might have given the order to fire, or why.

However, if what is heard on the recording can be verified as a command, it could shed light in all of the long-hidden corners of this case for the victims left behind and those still absorbing its lessons.

Already much has been learned from the shootings at Kent State. Law enforcement now uses less lethal methods to control even unruly protesters.

Still, deadly clashes between police and civilians continue to occur in tense, hostile times that are reminiscent of Kent State during the Vietnam War.

New Orleans is reeling from recent, stunning admissions from four police officers who pleaded guilty to covering up a police shooting of innocent, unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge after the devastating Hurricane Katrina. Police now say they raced to the bridge because of reports of gunfire nearby, but when they arrived, all they saw were unarmed civilians. A U.S. District judge was right to call the revelations sickening.

It took five years for the truth to come out about Danziger Bridge, for the record to begin to be set straight and for some cops to face justice.

Uncovering the truth about the shootings at Kent State University has taken far longer, but with a new revelation in hand, Gov. Strickland shouldn’t give up on it now. History is worth getting right.

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Watch and learn the truth about 1970 Kent State shootings from the original witnesses and participants recorded at the 40th anniversary in Kent, Ohio.

Kent State Truth Tribunal testimonials

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JOHN MANGELS, Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 8, 2010

Ohio National Guardsmen who fired on students and antiwar protesters at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 were given an order to prepare to shoot, according to a new analysis of a 40-year-old audio tape of the event. “Guard!” says a male voice on the recording, which two forensic audio experts enhanced and evaluated at the request of The Plain Dealer. Several seconds pass. Then, “All right, prepare to fire!”

“Get down!” someone shouts urgently, presumably in the crowd. Finally, “Guard! . . . ” followed two seconds later by a long, booming volley of gunshots. The entire spoken sequence lasts 17 seconds.

The previously undetected command could begin to explain the central mystery of the Kent State tragedy – why 28 Guardsmen pivoted in unison atop Blanket Hill, raised their rifles and pistols and fired 67 times, killing four students and wounding nine others in an act that galvanized sentiment against the Vietnam War. The order indicates that the gunshots were not spontaneous, or in response to sniper fire, as some have suggested over the years.

“I think this is a major development,” said Alan Canfora, one of the wounded, who located a copy of the tape in a library archive in 2007 and has urged that it be professionally reviewed. “There’s been a grave injustice for 40 years because we lacked sufficient evidence to prove what we’ve known all along – that the Ohio National Guard was commanded to kill at Kent State on May 4, 1970.”

“How do you spell bombshell?” said Barry Levine, whose girlfriend Allison Krause was mortally wounded as he tried to pull her behind cover. “That is obviously very significant. The photographic evidence and eyewitness accounts of what took place seemed to suggest everything happened in those last seconds in a coordinated way. This would be the icing on the cake, so to speak.”

The review was done by Stuart Allen and Tom Owen, two nationally respected forensic audio experts with decades of experience working with government and law enforcement agencies and private clients to decipher recorded information.

Allen is president and chief engineer of the Legal Services Group in Plainfield, N.J. Owen is president and CEO of Owl Investigations in Colonia, N.J. They donated their services because of the potential historical significance of the project.

Although they occasionally testify on opposing sides in court cases hinging on audio evidence, Owen and Allen concur on the command’s wording. Both men said they are confident their interpretation is correct, and would testify to its accuracy under oath, if asked.

The original 30-minute reel-to-reel tape was made by Terry Strubbe, a Kent State communications student in 1970 who turned on his recorder and put its microphone in his dorm window overlooking the campus Commons, hoping to document the protest unfolding below.

It is the only known recording to capture the events leading up to the shootings – including a tinny bullhorn announcement that students must leave “for your own safety,” the pop of tear gas canisters and the wracking coughs of people in their path, the raucous protest chants, the drone of helicopters overhead, and the near-constant chiming of the campus victory bell to rally the demonstrators.

Strubbe has kept the original tape in a bank vault, and recently has been working with a colleague to have it analyzed, and to produce a documentary about what the examination reveals.

The Justice Department paid a Massachusetts acoustics firm, Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., to scrutinize the recording in 1974 in support of the government’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to prosecute eight Guardsmen for the shootings. That review, led by the company’s chief scientist, James Barger, focused on the gunshot pattern and made no mention of a command readying the soldiers to fire.

Barger still works for the company, now known as BBN Technologies. When told Friday of the new findings, he said via a spokeswoman that in his 1974 review he “did not hear anything like that.”

Someone made a copy of the Strubbe tape in the mid-1970s for use in the civil lawsuits that the shooting victims and their families filed against the Guardsmen and Ohio Gov. James Rhodes, who had sent the reserves to restore order at Kent State.

One of the plaintiffs’ lawyers donated the cassette copy of the Strubbe tape to Yale University’s Kent State archives. Canfora, one of the wounded students, found it while doing research for a book. The Plain Dealer commissioned an analysis of a digitized version of the Yale tape.

Using sophisticated software initially developed for the KGB, the Soviet Union’s national security agency, Allen weeded out extraneous noises – wind blowing across the microphone, and a low rumble from the tape recorder’s motor and drive belt — that obscured voices on the recording.

He isolated individual words, first identifying them by their distinctive, spidery “waveform” traces on a computer screen, then boosting certain characteristics of the sound or slowing the playback to make out what was said. Owen independently corroborated Allen’s work.

For hours on Thursday, first in Allen’s dim, equipment-packed lab in Plainfield and later in Owen’s more spacious, equally high-tech shop in nearby Colonia, the two men pored over the crucial recording segment just before the gunfire. They looped each word, playing it over and over, tweaking various controls and listening intently until they agreed on its meaning.

“That’s clear as a bell,” Owen said at one point as he and Allen replayed the phrase “Prepare to fire” on two large wall-mounted loudspeakers. The two audio engineers didn’t add anything to the recording or fundamentally alter its contents. Instead, they boosted what was present to make it easier to hear. “It’s like putting on eyeglasses,” Owen said.

In addition to the prepare-to-fire command, the segment just before the gunfire contains several curiosities.

• There is a sound fragment milliseconds before the gunfire starts. Allen believes it could be the beginning of the word “Fire!” – just the initial “f” before the sound is overrun by the fusillade. Owen said he can’t tell what the sound is.

• The frequency of the voice giving the command changes as the seconds pass. “I’m hearing a Doppler effect,” Allen said, referring to the familiar pitch change that occurs as a siren passes. “It’s as if he was facing one way and turned another,” Owen said. That’s consistent with eyewitness accounts that the Guardsmen spun around from the direction they had been marching just before they fired.

• The 1974 Bolt Beranek and Newman analysis concluded that the first three gunshots came from M1s, the World War II-vintage rifles carried by most of the Ohio Guardsmen. The M1 is a high-velocity weapon with a high-pitched gunshot sound.

But Allen and Owen said the initial three gunshots sound lower-pitched than the rest of the volley. “It suggests a lot of things, but we’re not certified ballistics examiners,” Owen said. Pistols typically are lower-velocity, lower-pitched weapons. Several Guard officers carried .45 caliber pistols, but the Bolt Beranek and Newman analysis identified .45-caliber fire later in the gunshot sequence, not among the first three shots.

As author William Gordon reported in his exhaustive 1995 book on the Kent State shootings, “Four Dead in Ohio,” several witnesses told the FBI they saw a Guardsman with a pistol fire first, or appear to give a hand signal to initiate the firing. Gordon believes the firing command probably was non-verbal. A few students and Guardsmen claimed at the time that they heard something that sounded like an order to fire, but most of the soldiers who acknowledged using their weapons later testified that they acted spontaneously.

“This is a real game-changer,” Gordon said Saturday of the new analysis. “If the results can be verified, it means the Guardsmen perjured themselves extensively at the trials.”.

Without a known voice sample for comparison, the new analysis cannot answer the question of who issued the prepare-to-fire command.

Nor can it reveal why the order was given. Guardsmen reported being pelted by rocks as they headed up Blanket Hill and some said they feared for their safety, but the closest person in the crowd was 60 feet away and there is nothing on the tape to indicate what prompted the soldiers to reverse course, and for the ready-to-shoot command to go out.

Most of the senior Ohio National Guard officers directly in charge of the troops who fired on May 4, 1970 have since died. Ronald Snyder, a former Guard captain who led a unit that was at the Kent State protest but was not involved in the shootings, said Friday that the prepare-to-fire phrasing on the tape does not seem consistent with how military orders are given.

“I do know commands,” Snyder said. “You would never see anything in training that would say ‘Guard, do this.’ It would be like saying, ‘Army, do this.’ It doesn’t make sense.”

Whether the prepare-to-fire order could lead to new legal action or a re-opened investigation of the Kent State shootings is unclear. A federal judge dismissed the charges against the eight indicted Guardsmen in 1974, saying the government had failed to prove its case. The surviving victims and families of the dead settled their civil lawsuit for $675,000 in 1979, agreeing to drop all future claims against the Guardsmen.

The federal acquittal means the soldiers could not be prosecuted again at the federal level, although a county or state official potentially could seek criminal charges, said Sanford Rosen, one of plaintiffs’ attorneys in the civil lawsuit.

The legal issues would be complex, he said. The presence of a command could give rank-and-file Guardsmen a defense, since they could argue they were following an order.

The command’s significance may be more historical than legal, Rosen said. “At very least, it puts new [focus] on the training and discipline of the Ohio Guard, and provides a lesson of how things should be done correctly when you are faced with civil disorder, particularly when you bring in troops.”

In Pittsburgh, Doris Krause has been waiting 40 years to find out who killed her daughter Allison, and why. Now 84 and widowed, she said Friday the presence of the prepare-to-fire order doesn’t surprise her.

“It had to be,” she said. “There’s no other way they could have turned in unison without a command. There’s no other way they could fire at the same time.”

She is frustrated, though, that the recording can’t identify the person who gave the order. “I wish there was better proof,” Krause said. “We have to find a man with enough courage to admit what happened.

“I’m an old lady,” she said, “and before I leave this earth, I’d like to find out who said what is on that tape.”

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Family Members of Victims Seek Full Accounting for Events that Triggered National Outrage; Call for Healing and “Restorative Justice”

Kent, Ohio On May 4, 1970 the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students protesting America’s bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. In a day that changed America, four students were killed and nine were wounded as they protested against the war. The incident triggered national outrage in a country already divided. In response to the Kent State Shootings, more than four million students rose up in dissent across 900 campuses, generating the only nationwide student protest in U.S. history. Fearing civil unrest, President Nixon was taken to Camp David for his protection.

The Ohio National Guard has never publicized the findings of its investigation of command responsibility for the shootings. And importantly, there has never been a public inquiry to hear, record and preserve the stories of those directly impacted by Kent State.

Forty years later, family members of those killed have initiated the Kent State Truth Tribunal to preserve and honor the stories of those whose lives have been touched by this tragedy. The Truth Tribunal will generate the only comprehensive historical record and live archive of the Kent State massacre. The tribunal will take place for four consecutive days, mirroring the events of 1970, and held at Franklin Square Deli Building, corner of Water & Main Streets, 110 S. Water Street, in downtown Kent, Ohio on May 1, 2, 3 & 4, 2010. Organizers are asking for all who were original participants and witnesses of the 1970 Kent State to pre-register at www.TruthTribunal.org

The Kent State shootings have never been thoroughly examined,” said Laurel Krause who was 15 years old when her older sister Allison was cut down by a Guardsman’s bullet. “We hope the Kent State Truth Tribunal will shed light on the truth of the murders that transpired on May 4, 1970. We have not set out in pursuit of punitive justice, but rather the restorative justice that comes from collective, historical inquiry and healing,” she added.

Organizers are reaching out to participants and witnesses to the events of May 4th 1970 and others who were present on campus and in the community including protesters, Ohio National Guardsmen, Ohio State officials, local residents, students, family members and others who were affected by the shootings.

Among the confirmed participants will be

  • Doris Krause – Mother of slain student protester Allison Krause
  • Dean H. Kahler – KSU student wounded on May 4, 1970
  • Marc Siegel – KSU student witness of May 4, 1970
  • Sue Corbin – KSU student witness of May 4, 1970
  • Emily Petrou – Kent resident and witness of May 4, 1970
  • Joe Lewis – KSU student wounded on May 4, 1970
  • Laurel Krause – Sister of slain student protester Allison Krause

The personal narratives of original 1970 Kent State witnesses and participants will be beamed via integrated, new and social media technologies to broadcast live over the first four days of May 2010 and will be available on the Internet at the Truth Tribunal website where it will continue to grow (http://TruthTribunal.org).

The Library of Congress has expressed interest in the recorded masters of the Kent State Truth Tribunal event on May 1, 2, 3 & 4 for inclusion in the American Folklife Center. It is America’s first national archive of traditional life, and one of the oldest and largest of such repositories in the world.

With 18 days away until the event organizers report a groundswell of interest reflected by more than 500 face book fans in its first week, an upswing in registrations from original participants and an endorsement from Michael Moore who has offered free advertising and other support to the Truth Tribunal.

For more information, visit: http://www.truthtribunal.org

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Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Kent State Truth Tribunal 2010, please go to www.TruthTribunal.org and pre-register to participate as well as support us with your generous donation. Thanks!

April 8, 2010

We are pleased to announce the launching of the Kent State Truth Tribunal website at http://www.TruthTribunal.org

Please visit, peruse and let us know what you think!

If you are an Original Participant and/or Witness of 1970 Kent State we hope you will join us at the Kent State 40th commemoration and Pre-Register to share your truth at the Truth Tribunal here.

See you in Kent, Ohio over the first four days in May at the Kent State Truth Tribunal!

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Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Kent State Truth Tribunal 2010, please go to www.TruthTribunal.org and pre-register to participate as well as support us with your generous donation. Thanks!

Anderson Valley Advertiser (AVA), February 24, 2010

LAUREL KRAUSE was 15 when her sister Allison, 19, was gunned down by the National Guard at Kent State. Laurel lives near Fort Bragg these days but still suffers the loss of her big sister who was one of thirteen kids shot that early May day in 1970, four of them fatally. Forty years later, Laurel and her 84-year-old mother have enlisted some heavy hitting help in founding a group called the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Laurel is co-founder with Emily Kunstler, daughter of the late William Kunstler. Howard Zinn endorsed Laurel’s project, as have Paul Krassner and Bill Schaap of the Institute of Media Analysis. The idea, Laurel says as she refers us to full details on Facebook, is to get the stories of everyone involved, get them recorded, preserved and honored in as thorough a way as possible 40 years after the event.

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Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Kent State Truth Tribunal 2010, please go to www.TruthTribunal.org and pre-register to participate as well as support us with your generous donation. Thanks!

ALAN JOHNSON, Columbus Dispatch, February 24, 2010

Nearly 40 years after a volley of 60 shots fired by Ohio National Guardsmen killed four students during a campus protest at Kent State University, the site has been named to the prestigious National Register of Historic Places.

The May 4, 1970, campus shootings site was added to the National Register even though it did not meet the criteria that events being recognized had to have happened at least 50 years ago.

“It was something those students deserved,” said Mark Seeman, a Kent State anthropology professor who helped write the 150-page application. “Now, this place will be recognized by the government of the U.S. as a place where history important to this nation took place.”

Jerry M. Lewis, 73, a Kent professor emeritus who was there in 1970, said what took place that day “was a very crucial event, not only of the Vietnam era, but the student-activism experience.”

The 17.24-acre site near E. Main and S. Lincoln streets, incorporating the Commons, Blanket Hill and the Southern Terrace, was nominated in December by the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board.

Among the site’s endorsers: Gov. Ted Strickland. One of his predecessors, Gov. James A. Rhodes, ordered the Ohio National Guard troops to Kent State to quell student protests that he feared were getting out of hand.

On that day in 1970, “Kent State University was placed in an international spotlight after a student protest against the Vietnam War and the presence of the Ohio National Guard on campus ended in tragedy when the Guard shot and killed four and wounded nine Kent State students,” the Ohio Historical Society said.

That set off “the largest student strike in U.S. history, increased recruitment for the movement against the Vietnam War and affected public opinion about the war, created a legal precedent established by the trials subsequent to the shootings and for the symbolic status the event has attained as a result of a government confronting protesting citizens with unreasonable deadly force,” the society said.

Reacting to the shootings, President Richard M. Nixon said they “should remind us all once again that when dissent turns to violence, it invites tragedy.”

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Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Kent State Truth Tribunal 2010, please go to www.TruthTribunal.org and pre-register to participate as well as support us with your generous donation. Thanks!

February 5, 2010

Found this YouTube providing background and historical analyses of the Massacre at Kent State University on May 4, 1970…near 40 years ago.

Ironically truth as in ‘what really happened’ remains unexplored.

The Kent State Truth Tribunal invites your participation, support and tax-deductible, charitable donations. If the Truth at 1970 Kent State matters to you, please join us here.

Watch:

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Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Kent State Truth Tribunal 2010, please go to www.TruthTribunal.org and pre-register to participate as well as support us with your generous donation. Thanks!

Kainah, The Daily Kos, May 24, 2006

At 12:24 pm on May 4, 1970, twenty-eight Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on the Kent State campus. When the shooting stopped, four students lay dead or dying while an additional nine had suffered wounds ranging from minor to life-threatening. The shootings had lasted thirteen seconds but legal repercussions would continue for nearly a decade.

In Part I, we look at Nixon’s curiously timed announcement of the Cambodian invasion and the May Day rally at Yale University. Part II examines the events of that weekend at Kent. Part III explores the events of Monday, May 4. Part IV deals with the immediate aftermath of the shootings. Part V looks at the various investigations following the shootings. Part VI examines the federal grand jury and criminal trial of eight guardsmen. Part VII concludes the series by examining the years of civil proceedings.

In memory of Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, Bill Schroeder, and Sandy Scheuer, join me in exploring the aftermath.

(First, let me apologize that it has taken three weeks to continue this series. The reaction to my May 4 diary was absolutely overwhelming and it left me emotionally and physically exhausted. This, then, is offered as a “bonus edition” in the series, dealing with the immediate aftermath. Part V will cover the legal aftermath. Now, on with the story…)

News of the shootings spread quickly across the country that May afternoon. The first reports claimed that two Guardsmen had been shot. Whether disinformation or a mistake, many heard this news and took it as evidence of the deadly intent of the student protesters. However, within hours, the truth of students shot and killed overtook the earlier rumors.  As parents and friends tried to connect with those in Kent, the phone lines jammed and then, in mid-afternoon, crashed. The inability to get accurate information in or out heightened anxieties. For four families, the incomprehensible news of the shootings would give way to the heartbreaking realization that their children were gone forever.

Sarah Scheuer was painting the house on May 4, her twenty-seventh wedding anniversary, when she heard news of the shooting. She immediately tried to call Sandy’s house but it took several hours to get through. When she finally did, one of Sandy’s roommates told her that she better come right away:  “Sandy’s in the hospital, but that’s all we know right now.” The roommate also told Sarah that Sandy’s wallet was still in the house. Sarah then called Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna and asked whether there was a wounded girl, dressed in a red shirt and blue jeans, with no identification. The administrator she spoke with wasn’t sure but confirmed that at least one of the injured girls had no identification. Sarah and her husband, Martin, quickly left their home in Boardman, near Youngstown, for Ravenna. At the hospital, they asked about Sandy. A police officer overheard them and, assuming they’d heard the news, asked if they had come to identify the body. Still hoping there was a mistake, Sarah asked if the unidentified girl was wearing a gold ring with a blue stone. The policeman went into the morgue and returned to confirm that, yes, the girl was wearing such a ring. After the morgue had been cleared of the other dead students, the Scheuers were allowed in to identify Sandy.

Jeff Miller’s mother, Elaine, heard about the shootings on the radio as she drove home from work in Long Island. She decided then and there to make Jeff come home because it just wasn’t safe in Kent. At home, she called Jeff’s off-campus apartment. Although by this time in late afternoon, the phone system was severely overloaded, Elaine’s call somehow got through on the first try. The phone rang and rang and rang. Finally someone picked up. Elaine asked to speak with Jeff. The voice on the other end asked “Who is this?” When Elaine, annoyed by the question, replied, “It’s his mother,” the boy replied bluntly, “He’s dead.” Elaine began to shriek. Her husband-to-be, who had followed her home, found her in a heap at the end of her bed, still holding the phone and screaming incoherently. Later that night, Jeff’s father and brother flew to Ohio to bring Jeff’s body home. When shown his son’s body in the morgue, Jeff’s father initially refused to identify him. His face had been so badly damaged by the bullet wound, Bernard Miller simply couldn’t recognize him. After the shock wore off, he realized that, indeed, this was his son. Later, this event would be twisted by those who wanted to paint the student victims as worthless agitators deserving of their fate. “Did you hear,” the rumor mill asked, “that Miller’s own father couldn’t recognize him because he was so dirty?” Back in New York, the funeral director advised Jeff’s mother not to view his body because of the extensive damage. Still in shock, Elaine accepted that advice and regretted it for the rest of her life. Months later, the high school that Jeff attended (and where his mother and would-have-been stepfather worked) held a memorial service for him. A boyhood friend told the crowd:  “Like many of us, (Jeff) left for college confused, seeking answers and trying to legitimize his own existence. Now his search has ended. A National Guardsman’s bullet has brought him the final reality. Dust to dust – another statistic – why should the world notice?” He finished his eulogy with a poignant question:  “Jeff, friend, you as much as anybody typified the fact that we all march to the beat of a different drummer. Why didn’t you tell me it was going to be a procession?”

For several hours after the shootings, reports indicated that a “William Schneider” was among those killed. Back at Bill Schroeder’s apartment, his roommates waited for Bill to return. When the 5:00 curfew came and went without Bill appearing, his roommates got “that sick feeling” that William Schneider was really William Schroeder. Around 5:15, one of Bill’s friends got through to the apartment and he told Bill’s roommates that he had seen Bill after he was shot, but that he was just wounded. Bill’s roommate, Lou Cusella, then called the hospital to ask if William Schneider had been positively identified. The hospital said he hadn’t. The hospital urged Cusella to call State Senator Robert Stockdale, a professor at Kent State, who had been given the job of notifying the victims’ families. Stockdale asked Cusella if he would be willing to go to the morgue to try to identify his friend. Cusella agreed, reluctantly, and soon thereafter, a sheriff’s department car arrived to transport Cusella to the morgue. There, after being frisked, Lou was taken to a viewing room. Behind a pane of glass, Cusella saw Bill’s profile. “Oh god, it’s him,” Cusella told the officials. Later, Cusella called Stockdale to ask how Bill’s family had taken the news. “Not too well,” Stockdale told him. In fact, Stockdale had never called the Schroeders – or the Scheuers, the Krauses or Millers. Instead, Bill Schroeder’s mother, in Lorain, had heard the reports of a William Schneider dead. Her repeated calls to his apartment never got through. Then, at 4:00, someone from the Cleveland Plain Dealer called to ask if the family had a picture of Bill the newspaper could use. When Florence Schroeder asked why, the reporter quickly apologized, saying he must have called the wrong house, and hung up. When Lou Schroeder got home, his wife persuaded him to go talk to a neighbor, a Lorain policeman. The policeman assured the Schroeders that, if Bill had been killed, they would have heard by now. But, at 6 PM, the Plain Dealer reporter called again. This time, he said he had reliable information that William Knox Schroeder had been killed at Kent State. Minutes later, a Lorain police dispatcher called the Schroeders and gave them a number to call. The number turned out to be Robinson Memorial Hospital where they were put in touch with a hospital administrator who asked if Senator Stockdale had called them. When Florence said no, the administrator told her that Bill had “expired.” Florence Schroeder collapsed.

Allison Krause’s uncle lived in Cleveland. In the early afternoon of May 4, he heard a report that there had been trouble at Kent and that his niece had been killed. He called his brother, Arthur, and relayed what he was hearing on local radio. Arthur immediately called his wife to get Allison’s phone number. Not wanting to alarm his wife until he could find out more, Arthur mentioned nothing of what his brother had told him. Meanwhile, Allison’s little sister, Laurie, was on her way home when a neighbor told her that KDKA, a local Pittsburgh radio station, was trying to get in touch with her family. When Doris, Laurie and Allison’s mother, called home a bit later, Laurie passed along the message. Doris called KDKA and a reporter there told her that Allison had been shot. Doris began frantically trying to get through to the hospital, with no luck. Eventually, someone suggested using a police band radio and they were finally able to get the emergency call through. Doris asked if there was an Allison Krause at the hospital and was switched to the hospital administrator. She asked her question again and received a chillingly blunt reply, “Yes, she was DOA.” (DOA=dead on arrival) Even that turned out to be disputed as Allison’s boyfriend, Barry, who rode with her to the hospital, swore she was alive when they arrived. The Krauses left for Ravenna in the early evening. At the hospital, reporters crowded around Arthur Krause seeking a statement. In his grief, Krause told the reporters:  “All I know is that my daughter is dead! I’m not on anybody’s side. We were so glad we had two daughters so they could stay out of Vietnam. Now she’s dead. What a waste. What a terrible waste.” He hesitated and then went on:  “I’d like to know who the boys were who shot my daughter. I’d like to meet them. They’re young, immature guys who joined the National Guard to stay out of Vietnam. They’ve got a miserable job to do.” The Krauses stayed at the hospital until an ambulance came to take their daughter’s body to a funeral home. The next day, an emotional Arthur would again speak to the media and his powerful words would be broadcast on all the national news networks:  “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 she disagrees deeply with the actions of her government?” (emphasis added)

The state of Ohio did extensive autopsies on all the students killed that day and, even though it went against the tenets of his Jewish faith, Arthur Krause decided to have another autopsy done once Allison’s body was returned to Pittsburgh because, even then, he didn’t trust any official report. After the second autopsy had been completed, her devoted family laid Allison to rest in a small Jewish cemetery in Pittsburgh. A few weeks later, they got a check from Kent State University for $514. It was a refund for Allison’s spring tuition.

Before the end of June, Arthur Krause had filed a wrongful death suit against Ohio officials, including Governor Rhodes and National Guard Generals Del Corso and Canterbury. When his lawyer asked Krause how much he wanted to sue for, Krause responded $1. For him, the lawsuit had nothing to do with money and everything to do with holding people accountable. Informed that federal courts required a certain dollar threshold before they would entertain the suit, Krause thought for a bit and then announced he would sue for $6 million. Asked later how he arrived at that figure, he said it represented $1 for every Jew killed in the Holocaust. (Three of the four students killed – Scheuer, Krause and Miller – were, by chance, Jewish.) By mid-September, the parents of Jeff Miller and Sandy Scheuer had also filed suit.

Meanwhile, all across the country, college students tried to understand what had happened. Their gut instincts, combined with what many had seen happen on their own campuses, convinced them that the students had been innocent and that the Guard had overreacted. The shock of the killings, however, was heightened for many when they called home that afternoon. Scared and upset, they heard their own parents denounce the students and proclaim that “they should have shot them all” or “they must have done something to deserve what they got.” This widespread attitude that blamed the victims for their fate only served to pull the generations further apart. A fog of grief and outrage descended. One report described how, in the weeks after the killings, the citizens of Kent would greet each other by flashing four fingers, signifying, “We got four.”  Bill Gordon, author of Four Dead in Ohio:  Was There a Conspiracy at Kent State would call the Kent State shootings “the most popular murders ever committed in the United States.”

Students, reacting to what they believed was murder, took to the streets to demand answers and to remember their fallen comrades. Memorial vigils occurred that night all across the country. Over the next few days, however, many campuses moved from quiet candlelight vigils to more direct action. A nationwide student strike was called and, by the end of the week, some 800 campuses had been shut down, affecting nearly four million college students. It was the largest such event in American history. Many students went home but others, fearing parents who supported the actions of the National Guard, wandered from friend to friend, searching for some place to hang out until their campus reopened. That first weekend, hundreds of thousands of students found that place in Washington, DC, where people from all over the country gathered to protest the killings and demand accountability.

The DC protesters that weekend included Jeff Miller’s older brother, Russ, who left for DC shortly after his brother’s funeral in New York’s historic Riverside Church. Thousands of young people gathered outside, waving banners with peace doves and blown up photos of Jeff lying dead on the pavement. One placard declared “WE THE PEOPLE MOURN OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS.” When police arrived with barricades, the wary youth stood back and then, respectfully, they helped the police set up a barrier to provide space for the hearse carrying Jeff’s body. Inside the glorious old church, the large crowd heard a series of distinguished speakers remember the 20-year-old none of them had known. NY Senator Charles Goodell told the crowd, “We pledge to do what we can to make this a meaningful death.” Dr. Benjamin Spock, the outspoken opponent of the war in Vietnam, also spoke:  “Young people…are willing to look at the terrible injustices that exist in the United States. They have the courage to act out their idealism. They put the rest of us to shame. To me, the most impressive thing of all this is that they cannot be intimidated. The more efforts there are at oppression, the more it opens young peoples’ eyes. (Jeff’s) death and the death of the other three at Kent State may be a blessing. This may do more to end the war in Vietnam than all the rest of us have been able to do in five years.” Rabbi Julius Goldberg noted that Jeff had been “killed by a fusillade of bullets labeled fear, panic, mistrust, war to end wars.” He admonished the crowd to “listen to Jeff’s brothers and sisters. We must give peace a chance.” Finally, when the service ended, six pallbearers carried Jeff’s simple hardwood coffin down to the street where the young, mostly long-haired mourners filled the street for a block in either direction. When they saw the coffin, the kids became silent and raised their hands in the peace sign. Later, Elaine Miller Holstein would say that she had no real understanding of how the memorial service came to be. She didn’t know who had arranged for the service to be held in Riverside Church. She had no knowledge of how so many VIPs came to speak at the funeral. She just remembered the kids outside. She knew that they were really the ones who had come to remember Jeff as a person, rather than as a symbol.

Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, Richard Nixon heard the news on May 4 and issued a statement supposedly expressing regret but really just blaming the students for their own deaths:  “This should remind us all once again that when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy.  It is my hope that this tragic and unfortunate incident will strengthen the determination of all the nation’s campuses, administrators, faculty and students alike to stand firmly for the right which exists in this country of peaceful dissent and just as strongly against the resort to violence as a means of such expression.” (emphasis added)

On Friday, May 8, Nixon held a press conference where, as expected, most of the questions revolved around the shootings. As he spoke to the press, students had begun gathering in D.C. for the massive weekend protest. When asked what he thought the students were trying to say with their protest, Nixon replied:  “They are trying to say that they want peace. They are trying to say that they want to stop the killing. They are trying to say that they want to end the draft. They are trying to say that we ought to get out of Vietnam. I agree with everything that they are trying to accomplish.” He added, “I think I understand what they want. I would hope they would understand somewhat what I want.” When asked if he felt the country was heading into a period of revolution and repression, he pointed to the pending demonstrations as evidence disputing this claim. “Briefly, this country is not headed for revolution. The very fact that we do have the safety valves of the right to dissent, the very fact that the President of the United States asked the District Commissioners to waive their rule for 30 days’ notice for a demonstration, and also asked that that demonstration occur not just around the Washington Monument but on the Ellipse where I could hear it–and you can hear it pretty well from there, I can assure you–that fact is an indication that when you have that kind of safety valve you are not going to have revolution which comes from repression.” In fact, by this point, buses had been brought in to surround the White House and, according to Alexander Haig, troops had been stationed in the basement in case students decided to attack.

Following the press conference, Nixon went back to his quarters where, apparently, he began drinking heavily. Unable to sleep, he began working the phones. As Army troops moved into position to protect government buildings from the demonstrators, Nixon made 47 phone calls in four hours, including eight to Henry Kissinger, seven to Bob Haldeman, and at least one each to Norman Vincent Peale and Billy Graham. While we still don’t know everyone he called, we do know that one of the calls went to DeWitt Wallace, founder and publisher of Reader’s Digest which had a well-deserved reputation of printing books and articles that “portrayed an America that was kindly, religious, self-sufficient, neighborly, and staunchly anticommunist.” A few days later, Wallace would commission James Michener to write Kent State:  What Happened and Why, a massive work designed to prove that what happened at Kent State was a tragedy in which no one was to blame. Michener’s high profile and solid reputation, combined with the marketing power of Reader’s Digest, gave the book wide circulation. For years, publishers approached about doing another book on the shootings would decline, pointing to Michener’s work as “definitive.” Unfortunately, however, like most of Michener’s works, he sprinkled fiction in with his facts. The result could more honestly be called a “nonfiction novel.” But Nixon got what he wanted and DeWitt Wallace was rewarded in 1972 when Nixon conferred on him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

To his dismay, Nixon discovered that even this mad round robin of phone calls couldn’t calm his brain. After finally giving up on phone calls, Nixon listened to Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto. When that, too, failed to bring peace, Nixon summoned his personal valet, Manolo Sanchez, and asked if he had ever visited the Lincoln Memorial at night. When Sanchez replied that he had not, Nixon decided to go sight-seeing despite the fact that it was now 5 AM. Without alerting his Secret Service detail, Nixon summoned a limousine and took off with Sanchez for the Lincoln Memorial. There, they found thousands of students hanging out on the steps, waiting for the next day’s protests. The students, of course, were stunned to see Nixon approaching. They stood by respectfully while the President clumsily attempted to engage them in conversation. Nixon talked about surfing and football and how travel would broaden their understanding of the world. Mostly, the students maintained a stunned silence. Finally, Nixon told the protestors to enjoy their time in D.C. but admonished them to keep things peaceful. He then left, with Sanchez still in tow, and went over to the Capitol. In the chamber of the House of Representatives, Nixon encouraged Sanchez to give a speech to the empty chamber while Nixon sat and listened. One can only imagine the thoughts running through Nixon’s head as he remembered his days in the House and the Senate. By then, however, the Secret Service had realized their most important person had gone missing. They tracked him down and brought him back to the White House where, referring to his talk with the students at the Lincoln Memorial, he said simply, “I doubt if that got over.”

A few days later, after seeing pictures of the students shot down at Jackson State, Nixon would say, “What are we going to do to get more respect for the police from our young people?” Later, Henry Kissinger would confide his belief that, that May, Nixon was on the verge of a mental breakdown. H.R. “Bob” Haldeman would suggest in his Watergate memoir, The Ends of Power that the shootings deepened the White House paranoia, thereby adding to the conspiratorial thinking that ultimately forced Nixon from office. For those of us who believe that the Nixon administration was not necessarily caught off guard by the shootings, this explanation sounds like another attempt to blame the victims.

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