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Laurel Krause, the Mendocino coast, March 28, 2020

… An account from Barry Levine who accompanied Allison Krause at Kent State on May 3, 1970 just a day before her killing

Sunday was a peaceful day, the sun was warm and the breeze was gentle. Allison spent the day quietly strolling the campus, sometimes laughing and joking, sometimes seriously discussing the past two days of disturbances on the campus. It was late afternoon when we decided to walk to the front campus and fraternize with some guardsmen.

Upon arriving, one particular guardsman caught our eye. He stood quietly alone, a lilac in his gun barrel. Taking me by the arm, Allison walked over to him, his name was Meyers, and unlike many of the soldiers we had met that day, Meyers wore a pleasant smile, and when he spoke, he did so with a gentle compassion. He said he did not want to be guarding the campus, but when asked why he didn’t leave, he looked at the ground and shyly said he couldn’t.

Disturbed at the pleasant rapport one of his men was enjoying with us, an officer slowly strolled over and placed his arm around Meyers’ shoulder. As we watched inquisitively, Meyers’ face tightened up, his back straightened and his smile completely disappeared. The officer, yelling in Meyers’ ear, ordered him to identify himself and his division. Meyers did so, and as we watched the fear swell in the young guardsmen’s eyes, the officer began:

 

 

O:             Doesn’t your division have target practice next week, Meyers?
M:             Yes, sir.
O:             Are you going there with that silly flower?
M:             No, sir.
O:             What is it doing in your rifle barrel?
M:             It was a gift, sir.
O:             Do you always accept gifts Meyers?
M:             No, sir.
O:             Then why did you accept this one?
… No Answer
O:             (Holding out his hand) What are you going to do with it Meyers?
… Meyers feebly began to remove the lilac
O:             That’s better Meyers. Now straighten up and start acting like a soldier and forget all this peace stuff.

Realizing the officer would merely throw the lilac away, Allison grabbed it from his hand and gave him a look of disgust, but he only turned his back.

As the officer walked away, Allison called after him, “What’s the matter with peace? Flowers are better than bullets!”

 

 

 

 

 

***

Flowers are better than bullets by Barry Levine

Just a few gentle words

coming from her heart, there

was no profundity intended –

just a natural reaction in defense

of a stranger she had taken a

liking to. Five simple words

that will never be forgotten.

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by Laurel Krause, June 22, 2019

Last month on May 22, 2019 we witnessed a significant ‘turning of the tide’ for Kent State truth in the May 4, 1970 Kent State massacre.

This year, just a few days after a peaceful, healing 49th anniversary of Kent State on May 8, 2019, I awakened to a riveting facebook message from colleague Mike Alewitz, an eyewitness of the massacre at Kent State saying, “Unbelievable. The f*cking CIA is organizing the 50th.”

Searching on facebook I discovered a leak that retired 25-year CIA operative Stephanie D. Smith, now a professor at Kent State University, had been quietly announced as KSU President Beverly Warren’s choice for Chair of the 50th commemoration coming up on May 4, 2020 and managing the $2million budget for the Kent State 50th.

Since none of us had ever heard of Ms. Smith, I searched for and found Smith’s Kent State University backgrounder with a CIA photo headshot http://bit.ly/2VmCPFR, describing her decades of PR experience in re-messaging torture at Abu Ghraib among other scandals. From what we’ve been able to piece together, Smith has worked at high levels with CIA leads and the State Dept. to assist the current director of the CIA, Gina Haspel and ex-Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, exiting the Agency around 2008. Smith completed her undergraduate work at Kent State University in 1979. Unfortunately Smith never attended or expressed any interest in the Kent State massacre commemorations when she was a student from 1975-79.

Even though leadership at Kent State University savored their choice for the 50th chair, CIA Smith’s appointment was more of a stunning slap in the face to every protester who stood for peace and against the Vietnam War. Alewitz said, “This appointment is a travesty and an insult to all those that seek peace and social justice.” http://bit.ly/2JyADEA It is widely known the CIA was the most rogue and vicious contributor to Vietnam war crimes, now wholly focused on re-writing their crimes, re-messaged their war, before, during and after, a key aim of the CIA in covering their tracks.

Digging into press accounts we found Smith had a checkered background involving sexual escapades with her CIA boss http://bit.ly/2E80orb during her “happy” 30-year marriage http://bit.ly/2YpN7ll to another CIA operative http://bit.ly/2JyADEA, and then later turning to Mormonism http://bit.ly/2QbZM8C.

Back to our story and little victory, while Alewitz actively protested Smith’s appointment, his facebook posts were picked up by Russell Mokhiber and reported at Common Dreams. READ: http://bit.ly/2HfOb4y

As uproar over Smith’s appointment made it to national news, Kent State University’s response was tone deaf … a response we have witnessed from the University since the 1970 massacre. At a Kent State insider’s page on facebook, the ‘Kent May 4 Movement Community Forum,’ we read complaints there wasn’t any ‘Organized Opposition’ to Ms. Smith’s appointment and it got us thinking.

Many folks were very upset by Smith’s appointment yet there was no way for us to respond. Kent State University was going to do whatever it wished whether we liked it or not … yet that wasn’t going to work for us any longer.

On May 14, just shy of one week after the leaked announcement to put the CIA in charge of the 50th, in protest we launched our Email Blast. The idea was to create an ‘organized opposition’ to Smith’s announcement by sending protest emails to KSU President Beverly Warren.

On facebook I asked folks against Smith’s appointment to send me their email address. In return I emailed them easy to follow instructions that encouraged quick turnaround by sending KSU President Warren a protest email.

Within hours of launching our campaign, we heard from inside sources that Warren’s email box was exploding from our Email Blast and that leadership at KSU was “annoyed.” We sent instructions to ~300 recipients against the appointment and most of them made their voices heard.

Kent State stood up for Smith by offering, “She’s such a nice person and her students love her. Have you met her?” and “How can you be against her when you don’t know her?” They didn’t understand that our concerns were not personal and we were not wishing to engage in ad hominem character assassinations.

Eight days after launching our Email Blast, on May 22, 2019 Stephanie D. Smith stepped down from chair. READ Mohkiber’s follow-up Common Dreams article http://bit.ly/2VWfWsZ. Kent State refuses to share how many emails President Warren received.

***

A month later, even though Smith has stepped down, she’s still there. Smith is rewriting the legacy of my sister Allison Krause, along with Dr. Mindy Farmer http://bit.ly/2VADpj5 who worked for five years at the Nixon library before her recruitment to run the May 4 Visitor Center at Kent State. READ about Farmer’s tribute to Allison http://bit.ly/2zKXPYW.

Perusing the roster of people at Kent State managing the 50th, we have uncovered that Eric Mansfield http://bit.ly/2Vx22gN was a 20-year careerist in the Ohio National Guard, before becoming Executive Director of Media at Kent State University. Mansfield will lead all Kent State 50th PR and announcements.

In 2019 representatives of those responsible for manufacturing the Kent State massacre are now running the 50th: the CIA, President Nixon and the Ohio National Guard.

Even though Smith no longer chairs the 50th, Smith is still there with Farmer and Mansfield, making sure the story of the Kent State massacre is exactly as the US government and Kent State University wish … and they’re blocking organizations like ours, the Kent State Truth Tribunal from any meaningful participation in the Kent State 50th commemoration.

Where are the representatives of those who stood for peace at Kent State? Will the peaceful protesters who were present on May 4, 1970 have a voice at the Kent State 50th? With Kent State University in charge, truth and peace will not be in their remembrance of the Kent State massacre.

Please add your name, sign the Kent State 50th “Letter of Dissent” http://bit.ly/2m8zHfL. Thank you.

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April 6, 2019 by Laurel Krause

On the May 4, 1970 Kent State massacre, written by my father Arthur S. Krause to Richard M. Nixon and published in the New York Times on May 7, 1978 🌺

A Memo to Mr. Nixon:

In the published extracts from your memoirs, you blame the news media for misinterpreting your categorization of student demonstrators as “bums.” Your remark was made just a few days before my daughter, Allison, was killed at Kent State University, on May 4, 1970, and you say you were “stunned” to learn of her death, and that of the other students shot by Ohio National Guardsmen.

You claim that the days after the killings “were among the darkest” of your Presidency, and that you were “utterly dejected” when you read that I had said, “My daughter was not a bum.”

By reducing what I actually said to this simplistic capsule sentence, you are once again avoiding the crucial question I had asked eight years ago: “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?”

Your sympathy was such that you had to write personal letters to the parents of the four dead students, even though you “knew that words could not help.” If this is true, then why did you make such a mockery of your private grief for our sons and daughters by publicly implying that they were responsible for their own deaths and their killers blameless?

“When dissent turns to violence,” you told the American people, “it invites tragedy,” but in your letter to my wife and me you expressed the hope that we could “take comfort from the sympathy the entire nation feels.” Words from fellow citizens, who really understood what had happened at Kent State, did help us, but from our President we expected much more than personal condolences and public political condemnation.

Presidential action would have immeasurably tempered our grief and anger at the deliberate shooting down of our children, and on May 16, 1970, John D. Ehrlichman personally assured me that there would be no “whitewash” of what had happened.

In other words, the Nixon Administration was committed to seeing that justice was done if Ohio exonerated all official and guardsmen from criminal responsibility, which a state grand jury did in October 1970.

The cruel duplicity in these claims to personal grief and desires for justice have just been exposed for what they truly are by NBC-TV news.

At a time (November 1970) when you well knew that I was almost begging for a Federal grand jury investigation of the killings, you instructed Attorney general John Mitchell not to convene a grand jury. How, I ask, does this square with your claims of personal sympathy?

You saw the photographs of the four young men and women shot to death at distances of 270 to almost 400 feet, and in your memoirs you say you “couldn’t get the photographs out of your mind.”

Watergate and the cover-up was your nemesis, but NBC-TV has not shown that your first obstruction of justice occurred six months after Kent State, when you “instructed” the Attorney General of the United States not to convene a Federal grand jury regardless of what the evidence might have warranted.

To learn of your personal veto of a Federal grand jury months before Justice Department officials were assuring me that killings were still under “intensive investigation” is to prove, in my opinion, all the charges leveled against in the Watergate scandal.

There is poetic justice in the fact that your self-serving account of deep sorry for the death of my daughter, Allison, and of Sand Scheuer, Jeff Miller and Bill Schroeder, should be published on the eve of NBC’s report on how you truly felt.

Is there to be no end to your deceptions, omissions and outright distortions of historical fact?

Kent State Truth Tribunal The Allison Center for Peace Peaceful Party

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April 9, 2017

Last week I received a package from the daughter of a woman who helped my sister Allison Krause as she was dying in the Kent State University parking lot. The package contained a greeting card, an image of Dr. Marion Stroud (Allison’s helper), a Letter to the Editor at the Akron Beacon Journal that she wrote shortly after May 4, 1970 and a handkerchief with Allison’s blood … a relic from that day.

Here is the Letter to the Editor written and sent by Dr. Marion Stroud –

To The Editor:

I was with two of the students who were shot and killed by National Guardsmen at Kent Monday and for their sake I want to tell it like it was.

The Guardsmen had marched up the hill after leaving the football practice field. Kids were following them up, some shouting and probably some throwing small stones — there were no “baseball size” rocks available. Without warning the Guards stopped at the top of the hill and fired a long volley of rifle shots into the crowd below.

Many of the kids dropped to the ground and others ran behind the building. There was discussion as to whether the shots were blanks but in seconds we knew they were not. There were kids gathering around the wounded.

THE BOY who died first was shot in the back of the neck. He lay in a vast puddle of his young blood. His friends tried to stop the flow, but he had no pulse nor breath and we all realized he was dead.

There was a cry from a group trying to help a big, beautiful young girl who was lying in the parking lot, shot in the armpit. We tried to put enough scarves and handkerchiefs into the hole to stop the bleeding. She was breathing a little but as we waited for the ambulance I saw her lips go white and her eyes glaze over, and I realized she wouldn’t make it, either.

Five or six victims were picked up on stretchers and those of us who had been fired on stood in small groups trying to figure out why the soldiers had turned and fired without warning. Most of us in that area had been walking away when the shooting started.

THOSE WHO died weren’t wild, SDS bearded hippies. They were kids like my sons and daughters. They came to the Commons for a peace rally. They wanted to know how to get the word to our government that the Vietnam war is immoral and its extension into Cambodia intolerable.

After the shooting one young man said, “You think this bloody mess is awful, just imagine what the kids have to do every day in Vietnam — kill, kill, kill. Plenty of blood in the streets there.”

Listen to them. You know in your hearts, they’re right.

I’m no kid. I’m over 40 and the mother of seven children.

MARION STROUD, Graduate Student, Kent State University

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LocustJonesKentState2011Allison Beth Krause, my sister, was one of four students killed in the May 4th Kent State Massacre. On May 4, 1970 joining millions of young Americans, Allison stood for peace and against the Vietnam War. Allison protested against the military occupation of her Kent State University campus. More than 40 years later, emerging evidence indicates Allison was gunned down for taking her peaceful stance against President Nixon’s announcement of the Vietnam War’s Invasion of Cambodia. Kent State was a coup for American masters of war. http://bit.ly/11dOuB0

The Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT) was founded in 2010 upon the emergence of new forensic evidence regarding the May 4, 1970 Kent State Massacre. The new evidence consisted of a tape recorded by a Kent State student during the shootings. Though the original tape, known as the Kent State Strubbe tape, was destroyed by the FBI in 1979, a bonafide copy of the tape was located in 2007 and was analyzed in 2010 by internationally accredited forensic expert Stuart Allen. The analysis, derived using state-of-the-art technology not available in prior investigations into Kent State, demonstrated that there was a ‘command to fire’ at the student protesters. Moreover, the enhanced tape identified four pistol shots fired 70 seconds before the command as coming from a FBI informant’s pistol to create the ‘sound of sniper fire.’ Although the U.S. Department of Justice received this new evidence in 2010, the Department refused to examine the tape. http://bit.ly/IOvOO7

Now going on 43 years, truth at Kent State and Jackson State continue to be censored, thwarted and obfuscated. Yet just recently on April 3, 2013, Kent State made it to United Nations, Human Rights Committee in the posting of KSTT’s submission. At the United Nations, every five years participating countries must go before the High Commissioner of the Human Rights Committee to answer submitted questions. On a related note, the UN HRC’s ‘List of Issues’ includes questions on police brutality and excessive use of force. http://bit.ly/WQpjUP

Cycling back to our initial efforts, in May 2010 Emily Kunstler, an award-winning filmmaker and daughter of Bill Kunstler, and I organized a first tribunal of three in Kent, Ohio at the 40th anniversary with a goal to honor, record and preserve truth from Kent State witnesses, participants and those meaningfully-involved. Please WATCH Kent State Truth Tribunal livecasts with 88 KSTT testimonials awaiting final edit and production.

Truths Uncovered by the Kent State Truth Tribunal:

1) Even before President Nixon announced the Cambodian Invasion on April 30, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen were arriving at Kent State University directly from an Akron wildcat strike, continuing as ‘federalized’ guardsmen at the command of the US federal government.

2) From research on Kent State and Jackson State, we now see they were domestic, stateside military battles planned and orchestrated before the Cambodian Invasion announcement and as part of the overall action to slaughter student anti-war protest yet also bringing the Vietnam War home.

3) As a result of Kent State and Jackson State, American Leadership inoculated more than a generation with post-traumatic stress disorder as young Americans protested the war, experienced the grief of the massacres firsthand, believing ‘it could have been them.’

4) The FBI’s use of snipers in creating violent scenarios against American protesters is still being utilized in 2013, prompting the need for a formal examination of FBI activities, files involving sniper practices and the targeting of American protesters. See Jason Leopold’s article on FOIA FBI files re Occupy. http://bit.ly/RWuIto

5) Kent State was planned, executed & covered-up by American Leadership, also stonewalling every attempt for a credible, independent investigation into May 4th. In 2013 the government-instituted Kent State cover-up remains fully intact.

Yet KSTT efforts to uncover truth at Kent State revved up last summer with an invitation from Project Censored to write a chapter in ‘Censored 2013’ to uncensor the ‘unhistory’ of the Kent State Massacre while also aiming toward justice and healing: Was Kent State About Civil Rights or Murdering Student Protesters? http://bit.ly/2vherUw

All harmed by Kent State remain thwarted from obtaining access to meaningful redress. Failure to ensure justice and accountability has set a precedent that the U.S. may continue to harass, abuse and even kill protesters. Ten days after Kent State, two Jackson State University students were murdered by state police. American authorities pointed to ‘snipers’ prompting military gunfire at student protesters, just like Kent State. http://bit.ly/UGhRJb

Unfortunately suppression of peaceful assembly in America continues and is growing in brute, violent force. Since the ‘Occupy’ movement began in 2011, protestors have been labeled ‘domestic terrorists’ and arrested in massive numbers for peaceful protests and assemblies. Scott Olsen nearly died protesting at #OccupyOakland.

Until the U.S. conducts a new investigation into the Kent State Massacre, and provides redress for victims and their families, American protesters will be at risk of being deprived of their fundamental rights without accountability. http://bit.ly/10xZebQ

The wrongs of Kent State are still being whitewashed. At Kent State on May 4, 2013, authorities will focus on dedicating a $1.1 million May 4 Visitor Center that does not include the new Kent State evidence, government involvement at May 4th nor any mention of the FBI sniper provocateur, Terry Norman. Organizers have invited Oliver Stone, Bill Ayers, Tom Hayden and many others to ‘dedicate’ a monument to keep the cover-up intact. Truth uncovered by the Kent State Truth Tribunal has found no home in the Visitor Center. http://bit.ly/TzxBdt

Let’s break this miscarriage of justice wide open, especially as America’s might and brute force delivered and condoned in May 1970 is now clearly on the horizon again.

There’s a Chance Peace Will Come http://bit.ly/10FzDOa

On May 3, 1970 Allison Krause offered, “What’s the matter with peace? Flowers are better than bullets.”

Kent State Truth Tribunal
http://TruthTribunal.org/
on facebook http://facebook.com/KentStateTruthtribunal

Artwork: Dark Silence in Suburbia by Locust Jones. Kent State, 2011 Ink on paper, 200 x 140 cm, shared from http://bit.ly/UijBoU

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May 9, 2012 ~ The killing of four students on the campus of Kent State, Ohio, on May 4, 1970, during a demonstration against Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia received new attention on April 23, 2012. The Obama administration’s Justice Department decided not to re-open the case in spite of evidence that the guardsmen had been ordered to shoot. This reminded the public that the question of who ordered the shooting has never been resolved.

The first of an occasional series on the place that has become TUC Radio’s new home: Mendocino County, Northern California, to honor extraordinary people and events in this remote region.

Here is the connection between a small local newspaper in Anderson Valley http://www.theava.com, a rural radio station, KZYX http://www.kzyx.org, a woman, Laurel Krause living on the Pacific ocean near a former logging mill town http://www.truthtribunal.org and a veteran radio programmer, Jeff Blankfort http://radio4all.net with events that shook the world in 1970.

Also referenced in this re-broadcast is Michael Moore, film maker Emily Kunstler and Congressman Dennis Kucinich. All together a piece of living history assembled in the mountains of Northern California. Recorded May 9, 2012.

Listen at Radio4All The Murders at Kent State

Listen at TUC Radio TUC Radio

29 second Preview

Produced by Maria Gilardin

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[Editors Note: In November 2012, the Kent State Truth Tribunal was notified the International Criminal Court at the Hague refused our submission.]

May 21, 2012

Delighted to confirm acknowledgement of our Kent State letter from the ICC at the Hague from their letter dated 21 May 2012:

Dear Sir, Madam
The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court acknowledges receipt of your documents/letter. This communication has been duly entered in the Communications Register of the Office. We will give consideration to this communication, as appropriate, in accordance with the provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. As soon as a decision is reached, we will inform you, in writing, and provide you with reasons for this decision.”

Our original letter sent on May 7, 2012

To the International Criminal Court at the Hague,

On May 4, 1970, Allison Krause, my sister, was shot dead by an Ohio National Guard bullet as she protested the Vietnam War, the American war draft and the military occupation of her college campus at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, U.S.A.

For almost ten years following the massacre, my parents fought for truth and justice for Allison in the United States justice system. In the end we received a statement of regret and $15,000 for Allison. http://bit.ly/JkeGxG The United States government admitted no wrong doing and immediately afterwards, a high-ranking Ohio National Guard officer commented that the Kent State statement of regret was not an apology.

Please read our recent Kent State letter to President Obama at the White House. On 5/1/12 we sent our letter registered mail, requiring signature to the White House. Here is the 5/1/12 Kent State Letter at President Obama from the Krause Family: http://bit.ly/IEJIWV

Our call to President Obama for truth and justice at Kent State was brought about by the April 23, 2012 U.S. Justice Department’s decision and refusal to examine the new evidence in the May 4th Kent State Massacre. News story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer http://bit.ly/IOvOO7

The Department of Justice April 2012 responses to Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Alan Canfora (a wounded student at May 4th Kent State) also fail to recognize that four American student protesters were murdered on May 4, 1970. Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s 4/24/12 response to the Department of Justice: http://1.usa.gov/K9Q3oR

Recent letters on Kent State from the Justice Department address only civil rights and point to double jeopardy in bringing forth new court cases against the National Guard although we have no interest in pursuing new law suits against the National Guard at this time. http://1.usa.gov/IN6RDu

The Department of Justice questions the authenticity of the enhanced Kent State tape as they report the F.B.I. Cleveland office destroyed key Kent State evidence, the original Strubbe Kent State tape, in 1979.

In the U.S. Justice Department’s refusal to recognize the authenticity of the enhanced Kent State tape recording, they also choose to ignore leading forensic evidence expert Stuart Allen’s new analysis, even though Allen analyzed the very same tape recording entered into evidence in my father Arthur Krause’s Kent State court cases.

In the 2010 forensic analysis of the enhanced Kent State tape, Allen verified the existence of the long-denied Kent State Command-to-Fire as well as four pistol shots fired by FBI informant/provocateur Terry Norman 70 seconds before the Command-to-Fire. It is believed when Norman fired his pistol, he signaled the National Guard with the ‘sound of sniper fire’ to shoot live ammunition at unarmed American students. Watch this 4/29/12 CNN report on the Kent State Tape with Stuart Allen: http://bit.ly/IGvDUn

Human rights ended at Kent State the moment the first shot was fired, transforming the historic May 4th Kent State Massacre into homicides in the killing of Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandy Scheuer and William Schroeder. For more than 42 years the United States government refuses to acknowledge loss of life resulting from their actions on May 4, 1970. It is for this reason we implore the ICC to consider the May 4th Kent State Massacre.

In the United States government’s actions to only address the wrongs of May 4th Kent State from a civil rights perspective, the killing of American protesters remains legal and wholly-unaddressed. Because of this, we have grave concerns for the welfare of Occupy protesters in America now.

The U.S. Federal government crossed the line in firing live ammunition at young Americans, killing four and wounding nine students on the Kent State University campus, just past noon on May 4, 1970. From the 2010 analysis of new evidence at Kent State, we have learned the truth at Kent State is the May 4th Kent State Massacre was a planned American government action managed by the F.B.I. http://bit.ly/HcliUa

In our email to the Hague, and for the reasons indicated above, the Krause family asks for the May 4th Kent State Massacre to be considered before the International Criminal Court.

No More Kent States,

Laurel Krause
Director

Kent State Truth Tribunal

www.TruthTribunal.org

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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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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!

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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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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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Excerpted from Paul Krassner’s column, June 2010 issue of “High Times”

Allison Beth Krause

In my book, Magic Mushrooms and Other Highs: From Toad Slime to Ecstasy, Freddy Berthoff described his mescaline trip at a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young concert in the summer of 1970 when he was 15. “Earlier that spring,” he wrote, “the helmeted, rifle-toting National Guard came up over the rise during a peace-in-Vietnam rally at Kent State University. And opened fire on the crowd. I always suspected it was a contrived event, as if someone deep in the executive branch had said, ‘We’ve got to teach those commie punks a lesson.’” Actually, President Nixon had called antiwar protesters “bums” two days before the shootings. While Freddy was peaking on mescaline, CSNY sang a new song about the massacre:

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming
We’re finally on our own
This summer I hear the drumming
Four dead in O-hi-o…

Plus nine wounded. Sixty-seven shots – dum-dum bullets that exploded upon impact — had been fired in 13 seconds. This incident on May 4, 1970 resulted in the first general student strike in U.S. history, encompassing over 400 campuses.

Arthur Krause, father of one of the dead students, Allison, got a call from John Ehrlichman, Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs, who said, “There will be a complete investigation.” Krause responded, “Are you sure about that?” And the reply: “Mr. Krause, I promise you, there will be no whitewash.”

But NBC News correspondent James Polk discovered a memo marked “Eyes Only” from Ehrlichman to Attorney General John Mitchell ordering that there be no federal grand jury investigation of the killings, because Nixon adamantly opposed such action.

Polk reported that, “In 1973, under a new Attorney General, Elliot Richardson, the Justice Department reversed itself and did send the Kent State case to a federal grand jury. When that was announced, Richardson said to an aide he got a call from the White House. He was told that Richard Nixon was so upset, they had to scrape the president off the walls with a spatula.”

Last year, Allison Krause’s younger sister, Laurel, was relaxing on the front deck of her home in California when she saw the County Sheriff’s Deputy coming toward her, followed by nearly two dozen men.  “Then, before my eyes,” she recalls, “the officers morphed into a platoon of Ohio National Guardsmen marching onto my land. They were here because I was cultivating medical marijuana. I realized the persecution I was living through was similar to what many Americans and global citizens experience daily. This harassment even had parallels to Allison’s experience before she was murdered.”

What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Now, 40 years later, Laurel, her mother and other Kent State activists have been organizing the “2010 Kent State Truth Tribunal” (see http://bit.ly/8AD8TQ) scheduled for May 1-4 on the campus where the slaughter of unarmed demonstrators originally occurred. The invitation to participate in sharing their personal narratives has been extended to 1970 protesters, witnesses, National Guardsmen, Ohio and federal government officials, university administrators and educators, local residents, families of the victims. The purpose is to uncover the truth.

Laurel was only 15 when the Kent State shootings took place. “Like any 15-year-old, my coping mechanisms were undeveloped at best. Every evening, I remember spending hours in my bedroom practicing calligraphy to Neil Young’s ‘After the Goldrush,’ artistically copying phrases of his music, smoking marijuana to calm and numb my pain.” When she was arrested for legally growing marijuana, “They cuffed me and read my rights as I sobbed hysterically. This was the first time I flashed back and revisited the utter shock, raw devastation and feeling of total loss since Allison died. I believed they were going to shoot and kill me, just like Allison. How ironic, I thought. The medicine that kept me safe from experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder now led me to relive that horrible experience as the cops marched onto my property.”

She began to see the interconnectedness of those events. The dehumanization of Allison was the logical, ultimate extension of the dehumanization of Laurel. Legally, two felonies were reduced to misdemeanors, and she was sentenced to 25 hours of community service. But a therapist, one of Allison’s friends from Kent State, suggested to Laurel that the best way to deal with the pain of PTSD was to make something good come out of the remembrance, the suffering and the pain. “That’s when I decided to transform the arrest into something good for me,” she says, “good for all. It was my only choice, the only solution to cure this memorable, generational, personal angst. My mantra became, ‘This is the best thing that ever happened to me.’ And it has been.” That’s why she’s fighting so hard for the truth to burst through cement like blades of grass.

***

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 learn more about us here.

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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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Editor’s Note: The family of Allison Krause seeks and supports the creation of the Kent State Truth Tribunal, a collaborative, multimedia, sharing event to dialog, document, discover and uncover the truth in the events leading to the killing of four students and wounding of nine at the Kent State Massacre.

At our event, commencing exactly 40 years later, we invite all concerned persons, all witnesses, all concerned humans and all those damaged by the Kent State Massacre to come together to SHARE, RECOUNT and EXPLORE what really happened at the Kent State Truth Tribunal to finally uncover the truth!

If you wish to join and support this event, please go to http://bit.ly/91Ez5X . The Kent State Truth Tribunal asks for your tax-deductible, charitable donations. If the truth at 1970 Kent State matters to you, please give generously here.

ALAN JOHNSON, The Columbus Dispatch, December 2, 2009

It’s not unusual for a battlefield to be declared a historic site, but it’s rare when the scene of a protest qualifies for that distinction.

But what happened at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, is indeed history.

Ohio officials want to recognize that by nominating 17 acres on campus to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Kent State site is one of five that the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board will review Friday for nomination to the National Register. View a video of this meeting to learn more about this nomination, here: http://bit.ly/7VSgmi

The Ohio Historical Society, which handles the nominations, acknowledged that the Kent State events happened less than 50 years ago. However, the events were nationally significant, according to the nomination:

“They caused the largest student strike in United States 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 nominated site includes 17.24 acres on campus in three areas: the Commons, Blanket Hill and the Southern Terrace.

That is where Ohio National Guard members, called out by then-Gov. James A. Rhodes, clashed with protesters, eventually shooting into the crowd, killing four students and injuring nine others.

Sites, buildings, structures and objects are listed on the National Register because of “their significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture”

Being named to the National Register does not obligate property owners to preserve or improve the property, nor does it prevent alteration, sale or even demolition. The final decision on nominations is made by the National Park Service program administrator.

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November 25, 2009

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!

A reporter named Jim Dudas from the Cleveland Press contributed this story on a National Guardsman present at the Kent State Massacre:

The year was 1971 or 1972. A federal grand jury had just handed down indictments of a number of Ohio National Guardsmen for the events on the afternoon of May 4, 1970, when the guardsmen fired upon a group of students protesting the United States’ bombing of Cambodia. The guardsmen were accused of violating the civil rights of the four slain students.

I was a relatively new reporter for the Cleveland Press. I had just been assigned the federal courts beat. And I was hungry and aggressive.

The morning after the indictments were handed down, and reported in the morning paper, the city editor came to my desk first thing upon my reporting for work and told me to go to Wooster, a small community about two hours south of Cleveland, and see if I could talk with one of the indicted guardsmen, Matthew McManus.

None of the indicted guardsmen were answering their phones or returning calls. I had McManus’ home address from the indictment. I found the home, left my car and rang the bell and rapped on the door. No answer. No surprise.

Not wanting to return empty-handed, I took a chance and found a phone booth (there were no cell phones then) and called the largest employer in town, Rubbermaid. The receptionist put me right through to McManus, a mid-level manager.

I remember to this day my exact words: “Hello, Mr. McManus, my name is Jim Dudas with the Cleveland Press, and I would like to get your side of the story about the indictments.” I did not say shootings because it would have implied that he actually shot and/or hit a student. He was not eager to talk, but he was too polite not to.

When it appeared he was willing to talk with me, I panicked. I didn’t expect the interview. I left my notebook in the car. But not wanting to slow him down or disturb him as he patiently and comprehensively answered my questions, I started writing on my hands, arms and, ultimately, my bare ankles, which, at the time, I could lift and rest on the small shelf in the booth. (Fortunately, I had only two days prior shaved my legs from the calves down in preparation for taping them for a marathon I was planning to run).

He was saying things no other guardsman had said before. He was scathing in his judgment of his commanding officers. I knew it was going to be a good story. I started running out of bare skin and he started running out of patience.

I asked if we might meet for lunch (it was then about 10 a.m.) to further explore some of his comments. “I will have to talk with my attorney,” he said. “Call me back in about an hour.” I knew there was not a snowball’s chance in hell that his attorney would let him talk to me while under federal indictment. Still, I hung around Wooster and, while waiting, transcribed my notes from my skin to my reporter’s notebook.

At precisely 11 a.m. I called McManus back. “Yes,” he said, “I did talk with my attorney and he does not think it a good idea for me to talk with you.” I thanked him for trying and hung up the phone. I did this hurriedly because I did not want him inquiring about what I might or might not do with the notes from our earlier conversation.

Not to be pejorative, but McManus was kind of unsophisticated, and I knew it almost immediately by the way he answered the questions. He was as unassuming and forthright as any subject I had talked with.

So here was my dilemma that I had two hours to think about as I drove back to the newspaper office. I had a great story, one we called a “one-er” (front page, above the fold). I also knew it was a national story. But I knew in my heart of hearts that McManus did not know talking to a reporter, without stipulating that it was an off-the-record conversation, could automatically be an on-the-record story.

My city editor was not expecting a story. No one else had one. McManus was not living at his home, so coming back empty-handed would not have hurt my career one bit. Only I knew I had a story. Only I knew I had a choice.

I did not want to hurt McManus. He was, after all, a fine young man, with a family, a bungalow and a comfortable existence in one of those storybook communities. And I knew a story like the one I had would cause him pain, embarrassment and, perhaps, impact the outcome of his trial.

But I had this freedom of the press thing to deal with, as well. I had my professionalism. And, yes, I had my ambition. Those three things were part of the mix, and I found it impossible to separate them.

About halfway into the ride, I forced myself to stop thinking about it. I put a Bob Seeger tape in the car stereo (I think it was an eight-track) and decided I would make a decision at the front door of the Press. An hour never went so quickly. There I was, facing the front door and the biggest decision of my nascent career.

Let me add that I was raised by the Golden Rule. My parents instilled fair play into all of us. There were six kids in the family and, to a kid, we all found a way to befriend those on the playground who were otherwise friendless. It was not goodness, it was just expected.

I kept putting off the decision as I slowly climbed the stairs to the building. There were 10 of them. And I took my time with each. I kept putting off the decision and decided that once I grabbed the handle of the door, I would make up my mind.

I touched the door and said to myself: “I’m going to go with it.”

I ambled up to the city editor. “Bill,” I said, “I think I got a hell of a story. He talked to me.”

The city editor sprang into action so we could get it into that afternoon’s edition. He assigned the best rewrite man on the paper (some would say one of the best in the country) to sit down with me and take my notes. I read them to him. He asked me some questions. “Are you sure he said that?” he would ask. I would look at my leg or other note-sullied skin and read my notes and reply: “Positive.”

Each page was ripped from the rewrite man’s typewriter and rushed to the composing room, where they were already remaking Page 1. We got it in the first edition. It was a banner headline that used the most damning quote: “We were led like blind fools.” It referred to the officers.

I was the toast of the city room. That evening, gathering my stuff in preparation for going home, one of my buddies said: “You look bummed out, wanna go have a beer?” “Nah,” I said, “I think I just want to go home.”

That evening I got a call from Dan Rather, who, at the time was an ambitious reporter for CBS. He asked how he could contact McManus. My story had hummed across the wires and it was national news.

My feelings about McManus were swirling in my head. I knew that McManus would not likely talk to Rather. Still, I decided, in my own way, to protect the small-town kid who was suddenly thrust in the big-time spotlight.

“Dan,” I said, “I can’t give you that information. I have to protect my source.” He understood, and hung up. At least I had that to feel good about.

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Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Kent State Truth Tribunal, go to www.TruthTribunal.org. Please lend your support to our efforts for Truth & Justice.

A tribute to my sister, slain 1970 Kent State University student protestor against the Vietnam War, Allison Krause.

Becoming Galvanized by Laurel Krause & Delaney Rose Brown

laurelnallison2Putting the finishing touches on my face, I looked in the mirror and had a funny feeling about the day ahead.  I saw a healthy, bright-eyed, intense 53 year old woman glancing back with excitement and dashes of hope and desirability in knowing a nice man had just called to ask me out on a date that afternoon.  I accepted the invitation and as I dashed around my place, I realized it had been a while.  It felt like today was going to be different and maybe extraordinary, perhaps even life-changing.

Feeling optimistic and energized, I walked outside onto my front deck to take in the warm, late morning California sunshine and the calming beauty of my view on the rural Mendocino coast.  I turned around to look at the sun and feel the winter mid-day rays shine on me.

Unsure if it was real or if I imagined it, I tried to focus my over-40 eyes; it looked like the lead Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy marching towards me from the gate.  Nearly two-dozen men followed behind like bees in a hive, some fiddling with the gate to take it off its track while others were coming through in vehicles and, most disturbingly, officers aggressively following the Deputy marching towards me.  It was hard to fathom why so many officers were coming at me and Manny, my small dog that Friday noon.

There I was, standing barefoot in a beautiful dress pretty with perfume, and all the grace of the day suddenly vanished.  I immediately felt raw with shock.

Grabbing the deck rail to steady myself, I moaned “Ohhhh shittttt!”

Then before my eyes, the officers morphed into a platoon of Ohio National Guardsmen marching onto my land through the gate.  A soundtrack played in my head and everything went fuzzy:

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We’re finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.
Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are gunning us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?        –“Ohio,” Neil Young, CSN&Y

In that split-second, I was back at Kent State University in 1970 when the Ohio National Guard shot and killed my sister, Allison Krause, during the Vietnam War protests on campus.  My time was up, les jeux sont faits and now they were coming for me too.

This was the first time I flashed back and revisited the utter shock, raw devastation and feeling of total loss since Allison died.  Back in early May 1970, I remember hearing my first news of Allison from a neighbor as I arrived home from junior high that afternoon, “Allison has been hurt.”

As the emotions took over, I began to physically, mentally and spiritually re-feel the learning of my sister’s death at the doorsteps of our home.  I broke down and couldn’t maintain control of anything in our environment, myself included.  I watched the progression of events outside of myself, as a witness instead of really being there, and having this happen to my family and me.

Later in life I learned that I was born into this world, the child of Arthur and Doris Krause and little sister of Allison Krause, to integrate balance into my surroundings and live in harmony.  In following this life path, I have sometimes yielded to the signposts of life that pop up to offer guidance.  Other times I have shielded my view of them, denied them or ignored them altogether.  As I’ve aged, I have had this opportunity to come to terms with myself.

I’ve learned that until health, balance or resolution is achieved and harmony is found, the signposts only get stronger, or shall I say, fiercer…and they continue to revisit until the message is finally decoded and hopefully integrated.

Focusing on my breath, I buckled to the ground while painful emotions ran through me, returning me to the moment.  Here I was experiencing one heck of a signpost as the sheriff’s deputy steadied me on the deck of my home and flashed the search warrant in my face to snap me back to reality – they were here because I was cultivating medical marijuana.  They cuffed me and read my rights as I sobbed hysterically.  While the cops searched through everything in my home, I was arrested and taken to jail.

Whether I missed the date or stood him up that day, there was no doubt I blew it with my suitor.  But it was nonetheless true that this Friday in late February was personally unforgettable and life changing.  It wasn’t exactly the kind of day I had imagined earlier or would have even asked for, but sometimes we are simply receivers of environmental impact, having little control or power over circumstances.  As we navigate through key life situations, there are choices and decisions we must make and therein lies our power: how we manage and exert our essence.  The outcome of events largely depends on how we respond to the situation, hopefully by creating an opportunity for positive growth to take away from it.

Arriving back home that night to my ravished land, I found doors left open, the gate was thrown off its hinge and the inside of my home strewn with debris from the enforcement teams raiding my property. It was hard to believe that my land, a place I had personally toiled on and developed these past five years, felt so negated and exposed.  In the supposed safety of my beloved home, I was scared, ravaged and vulnerable.

It wasn’t until the second month following my bust that I put together the pieces and realized the telltale signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.  Even though the sheriff’s men didn’t pull their guns on me during the arrest, once I saw the guns in their holsters, I feared for my life.  As they marched onto my property, I believed they were going to shoot and kill me, just like Allison.

Back in that state of mind, I again felt the same pain I experienced losing Allison nearly forty years ago. This is how PTSD manifests. This was how I took care of myself back then, what I did at the onslaught of extreme loss on a personal and cosmic level.

Cricket, one of Allison’s friends from Kent State and a therapist, suggested one late night phone call after the bust that PTSD doesn’t ever go away.  She suggested that the best way to deal with the pain of PTSD was to make something good come out of the remembrance, the suffering and the pain.

That’s when I decided to make the bust something good for me, good for all.  It was my only choice, the only solution to cure this memorable, generational, personal angst.  My mantra became, “This is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

And it has been.

Recounting my bust six months hence, I continue to confuse my words.  I replace the sheriff’s deputies with national guardsmen.  At night in dreams I see the guardsmen marching through my gate in unison.  My bust triggered the post-traumatic stress I experienced from my sister being murdered at Kent State in 1970.  She was protesting against the Vietnam War, most specifically, the Cambodian Invasion along with Nixon’s verbal harassment of the protesting students, calling them ‘bums.’  My sister, Allison Beth Krause, was shot dead by the National Guard with dum-dum bullets that exploded upon impact, as she protested more than a football field away from her killers, the U.S. government.

Back in 1970 with my parents in the room where Allison laid lifeless, I watched from outside in the hospital hall.  I saw what used to be ‘her’ lying there.  I noticed that her spirit had already left, and everyone was a mess.  My parents identified her body and as we walked the halls in the hospital, we heard others murmur, “they should’ve shot more.”

Like any fifteen-year-old, my coping mechanisms were undeveloped at best.  Every evening, I remember spending hours in my bedroom practicing calligraphy to Neil Young’s ‘After the Goldrush’…artistically copying phrases of his music…smoking marijuana to calm and numb my pain.  Feebly attempting to come to terms with the loss of my sister, and like so many others, the loss of feeling safe in the United States.

Years later I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of what happened to Allison.  Over thirty years later to help alleviate the effects of this emotional disorder, which is commonly characterized by long-lasting problems with many aspects of emotional and social functioning, I began cultivating my own medicine, marijuana.

How ironic, I thought. The medicine that kept me safe from experiencing PTSD now led me to relive that horrible experience as the cops marched onto my property.  There was no getting away from it.  No matter how much medical marijuana I smoked, I couldn’t change the fact that my sister was killed and I had not healed from it. None of us had healed from it.

Right after my bust, I could barely put a sentence together, yet after a few days back home from jail, I got really mad.  As a medical marijuana caregiver/patient, I had the proper documents and made every effort to grow marijuana legally on my rural, gated property, and I ended up getting arrested.  How did this happen?

Two weeks later as I entered my ‘not guilty’ plea in court, I learned that the seeds of my bust were sown with nuisance complaints.  Mendocino County nuisance ordinances encourage anyone who doesn’t like his or her neighbors, to send anonymous letters to the Sheriff complaining of ‘foul odors’ and road traffic.  These anonymous letters are basically crafted templates to complain of fabricated nuisances…at least in my case.  Taking advantage of this ordinance, hateful residents in Mendocino County found a way to make trouble for their neighbors by criminalizing them, especially the newcomers to the community.

I moved to the Mendocino coast five years ago, when I purchased five acres of undeveloped land in a rural area next to an agricultural preserve.  It was the first and only property my real estate agent showed me in 2004, and there was no doubt this magical spot called me.  When I arrived, it felt as if I was summoned, and now it’s clear that Allison and Dad were those pulling forces.

I remember parking my car at the end of the dirt driveway and looking out, enchanted by the view and turning to ask my friend, “Is that the ocean?”  I knew it was.  I saw this awesome, remote landscape before me and was captivated by the beautiful ecosystem of life.  The rolling meadows extending miles to the sea with hawks soaring above the fields, searching for prey.  Mice sheltering in the grasses that feed the cows continually grazing as they wander their weekly path across vast acreage that I observe each day, intending to minimize my impact.

My neighbors however, did not share my enthusiasm for my active life here, and they quickly judged me as a ‘city slicker.’  I had somehow missed their angry sentiments when I decided to make my move to the coast.   But the fact remained that I had already sunk everything I had into creating this fantasy-come-true and with the the bust, I was thrown down an even deeper financial hole.  My dream was crashing in on me.

After my bust, sporadic harassment continued as neighbors pulled pranks, engaged in petty vandalism and pursued other childish haunting tricks.  As I watched with dread, I felt exposed, off-balanced…almost shameful.  Then I remembered the Kent State hate mail my family received for over a decade after Allison was killed. While there were many very supportive, loving people and notes that came forward, the hatefulness of those scribbled letters had tremendous resonance.  Over time, I learned that the letter writers’ issues and angst sent our way (and now at me again) had very little to do with us.  I now see it as a manifestation related to duality, polarization and prejudice…us v. them, conservative v. progressive, rich v. poor, powerful v. downtrodden.

The days following my bust crept by; I burrowed in and rarely left my land.  In an effort to heal, I opened myself up and dug deep into my essence, asking for divine guidance.  That Spring, I often created rituals at my firepit, beckoning for direction and instruction.  I was asking to hear how I could be of best service to all.  That was when I heard Allison and my Dad come forward.  They wanted me to get active…to do something important for them.

As I recovered, I noticed that I was decoding the signposts in my life easier and quicker than usual, with increased clarity.  I realized the persecution I was living through was similar to what many Americans and global citizens experience daily.  This harassment even had parallels to Allison’s experience before she was murdered at Kent State almost forty years ago.

I began to see the interconnectedness of these events.  Full circle, I saw how the enduring effects of Kent State continue impacting today through powerful reverberations  Unresolved energy and extreme disharmony of this magnitude continued to reappear, rerunning on similar themes from the past, becoming stronger and continuing to add more insult to injury until we make things right. It became clear that this is true on a personal level as well as in collective consciousness.

The universe had already begun to push me towards searching for the truth with the signposts and alarming events. I started to understand this wasn’t something I could simply run away from.  At a very deep level, there was unfinished business surrounding cause and effect of certain events in my life and I was encouraged to take a hard look at it.

One fateful day in early April, the telephone rang.  My friend Alan Canfora, a wounded student in the Kent State Massacre, called to invite me to speak at Kent State University’s 39th memorial event. Normally I don’t relish public speaking, yet I quickly accepted.

So I began tailoring a speech for the Kent State memorial with Delaney Brown, a young activist living in the area.  Through the process of writing Speaking Your Truth, we were compelled to learn more about the recently re-discovered audio tape that recorded the Kent State protest on May 4th, 1970.  On that day, a student placed a microphone outside his dorm room window to record the protests on campus.  A copy of a copy (at 4th or 5th generation), hidden away and unearthed from the Yale Library only two years ago in 2007, the original audio tape has never been studied, forensically examined or explored.  Listen to tape here.

Those among the community directly involved in the Kent State Massacre, agree this audio tape holds the key to unlocking the truth at Kent State.  This new information or ‘truth’ is critically important as it contains documented evidence of a recorded ‘Order to Shoot’ that has been continually denied.  With the discovery and proof of an order to shoot, we finally document the intent to kill and ultimately reveal the truth about what occurred.  This is the truth that was so long ago suppressed and denied as guardsman and government officials continually perjured their testimonies to support their cover-up.  The contents of this audio tape shall play a dramatic role in the history of the Kent State Massacre as well as our own individual, national and global perceptions of the event.

I realized I had to focus my energy on that tape and become involved in isolating the ‘Order to Shoot’ given by the Ohio National Guard, to finally learn the truth about Kent State.  As the Strubbe tape had never been explored or analyzed, I wanted to help make that happen and follow it down.

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