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Posts Tagged ‘Truth Tribunal’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The shooting lasted 13 seconds.

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

My sister died in Barry’s arms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, there was a huge response by Americans.

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

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

We became a nation at war with itself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unless we heal these wounds, they shall continue festering.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I feel Allison smiling!

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

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

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

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

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

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MendoCoastCurrent, filmed May 1, 2010

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

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

ALAN JOHNSON, Columbus Dispatch, February 24, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 5, 2010

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

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

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

Watch:

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Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Kent State Truth Tribunal, please visit www.TruthTribunal.org

MendoCoastCurrent, January 28, 2010

Learned of Howard Zinn’s death last night. He had a heart attack while swimming in Los Angeles. His passing, my grief and our recent interaction prompt this recollection.

Howard Zinn has been a lifelong mentor, friend ~ an inspiration to me. He was my college professor more than three decades ago so I’m proud and blessed. He opened my mind and spirit to a better world, introducing me to Emma Goldman, anarchy and civil rights. With Howard’s help, I saw and believed in a more just, harmonious world.

It began when I enrolled in Dr. Zinn’s class at Boston University in 1973. He wrote of meeting my folks in his book You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train:

The Cambodian Invasion provoked nationwide protests, and on the campus of Kent State University, in Ohio, trigger-happy National Guardsmen fired into a crowd of unarmed student demonstrators, killing four of them, crippling another for life. A photo flashed around the world showed an unarmed young woman, her face anguished, bending over the body of one of the dead students.

On television I saw the father of one of the victims, Allison Krause, barely able to control his grief, pointing to the fact that President Nixon had referred to student protesters as “bums.” He cried out, “My daughter was not a bum!”

A few years later, when some visiting parents were sitting in on the introductory session of my course “Law and Justice in America,” I handed out the syllabus, which included as one of the course topics the shootings at Kent State. At the end of the session, one of the new students came up and introduced herself and her parents. She was Laurie Krause, the sister of Allison Krause. I recognized her father from the television screen and felt a pang of unease that their unspeakable grief was represented so matter-of-factly on a course syllabus. But they seemed to appreciate that the Kent State affair was not forgotten.

The spring of 1970 saw the first general student strike in the history of the United States, students from over four hundred colleges and universities calling off classes to protest the invasion of the Cambodia, the Kent State affair, the killing of two black students at Jackson State College in Mississippi, and the continuation of the war.”

Howard Zinn has been the only historian to understand and correctly depict the massacre at Kent State. He was appalled at our treatment in the judicial system over those nine years following the shootings.

Fast forward 35 years to early January this year ~ just two weeks ago ~ Howard and I exchanged emails on the Kent State Truth Tribunal, an event Emily Kunstler and I are organizing right now. We were seeking his participation in creating our truth forum on the Kent State Massacre, May 4, 1970.

This year at the 40th anniversary of the shootings, May 1-4, 2010, we invite everyone involved and affected by the Kent State Massacre to come forth and be heard. Our aim is to enable the sharing of 1970 Kent State personal narratives, document and record these stories as we weave them into a collective truth. ALL participants from that day include protesters, university employees, university students, national guardsmen, Ohio and federal servants, and those deeply affected.

So back to Howard: My last email from him led to his apology for being unable to attend in May and he shared this:

Laurie, learning and spreading the truth is the most important thing you can do to acknowledge what took place at Kent State. That was the essence of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and applies equally to our own history in the US.”

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

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Editor’s Note: 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!

Allison wants the Truth Out in 2010, won't you help?

Allison asks for your help now

Winter 2010

The Kent State Truth Tribunal in 2010

We invite you to join us for the 40th anniversary of the 1970 Kent State Massacre.

If Kent State matters to you, please come to participate in the Kent State Truth Tribunal, early May 2010, at the Kent State University campus in Ohio.

The Truth at Kent State Calls to be Revealed in 2010

Inviting the extended family of the 1970 Kent State Massacre:

  • All witnesses of the 1970 Kent State Massacre
  • Kent State protesters or students
  • Ohio National Guardsmen
  • Ohio/federal government and public servants
  • Kent State Univ. administrators/educators
  • Local residents
  • Families damaged by the killings
  • Citizens that deeply care about the truth at Kent State
  • Leading practitioners in consensus-building, truth and forgiveness

Please join us by traveling to Kent, Ohio and participating in early May 2010.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre at Kent State University in Ohio. On May 4, 2010 the Kent State Truth Tribunal will reveal the truth surrounding the murder of four young American protesters and the wounding of nine others on May 4, 1970.

The chief goal of the Truth Tribunal is to correct history as we record, document and honor the truth gathered from personal narratives of witnesses and participants from the original shootings. The truth of what happened at Kent State on May 4th 1970 will finally be available for all to hear, read, see and know. The resulting archive will be disseminated in published transcripts, streaming video and audio, film and through social media.

If the truth at 1970 Kent State matters to you, and you wish to become meaningfully involved in helping create, organize, fund and successfully reveal the truth about the killings and massacre, please let us know. With early May liftoff, we have a short fuse!

To join now, see the facebook event: http://bit.ly/7AKZl3 and facebook cause: http://bit.ly/4NoM4r There is also considerable writing on Kent State, Allison Krause and the Kent State Truth Tribunal here.

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.

Please spread the word by going to the Kent State Truth Tribunal facebook event, joining in and sharing it with your family, friends and colleagues.

Thank you,

Laurel Krause

sister of slain KSU student Allison Krause

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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: 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.

MendoCoastCurrent, October 3, 2009,  December 14, 2009, March 11, 2011

Allison Krause, Autumn 1969, collecting funds the anti-war effort

On May 4, 1970, 67 bullets were fired at protesting anti-Vietnam war students on the Kent State University campus. The 13-second discharge of the Ohio National Guard weapons devastatingly concluded four days of protests with the death of four and wounding of nine young American students.

In courtrooms over the next 10 years, all the way to the US Supreme Court and back, National Guardsmen and Ohio government officials testified the guardsmen marched away from the protesting Kent State students, up a hill, then turned in unison, to discharge M-1 rifles into unarmed, protesting students, many over a football field away — all claiming it occurred without an ‘order to shoot.’

It is believed, yet obviously still-to-be-proven, that an ‘order to shoot’ was indeed given at Kent State. Common sense and physics alone support this.

[At the Kent State Truth Tribunal in NYC October 2010, forensic evidence expert Stuart Allen examining the Kent State Tape ~ Discovered, presented and expert-verified the Kent State shootings order to shoot, read about it here ~ http://bit.ly/cO69Yx A violent alternation and sniper fire 70 seconds before the national guard barrage is recorded and verified on the tape. Watch Stuart Allen’s Kent State Truth Tribunal narrative here ~ http://bit.ly/dakhWw Allison’s family learned the truth about the killings at Kent State in 2010. Please visit the KSTT at http://TruthTribunal.org]

On May 4, 2009, Laurel Krause participated in the 39th Kent State commemoration for her sister, Allison Krause entitled Speaking Your Truth ~ http://bit.ly/9Zi1wQ). She concluded, “Triggers were not pulled accidentally at Kent State.”

With the 40th memorial approaching quickly, the Krause family is wishing to work with others to create a tribunal over the first four days in May at the Kent State University campus to uncover the facts about what occurred forty years earlier.

We are now launching the Kent State Truth Tribunal to discover, uncover and examine what really happened and to learn the PEOPLE’S TRUTHS about those four days in American history. Let’s explore through art, music, video interviews, poetry, enactments, rituals and discussions.

We see this as appropriate BOOKENDS to the event. When we uncover the final, long-sought-after truths of what occurred those Four Days in May so long ago…the truth shall set us free, history shall be corrected from hence day forth and we will share in this beautiful healing!

Won’t you please join us by helping to uncover the truth at Kent State at the 40th?

*******

December 2010, Congressman Dennis Kucinich offered to publish Kent State: Truth Emerging in this Cold Case Homicide by Laurel Krause in the United States Congressional Record. A current view on the Kent State shootings, killings from Allison Krause’s family.

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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!

From 1970 to 1980, Senator Kennedy was our single-best crusader from Congress in supporting my family’s attempts to learn the truth about the Kent State Massacre where my protesting sister, Allison Krause, was murdered. We grieve for Senator Kennedy and deeply thank him for always listening to our pain and working alongside my father, Arthur S. Krause, in his fight to have my sister’s death not be vain. Rest in peace, Senator Kennedy. Know that your compassion and tremendous life force had immense positive impact on my family and America.

BRIAN MERCHANT, Treehugger, August 26, 2009

edward-kennedy-green-tributeKennedy was a masterful politician and an effective, aggressive reformer–he was instrumental in shaping the policies, ideology, and face of modern America. More so, as Slate argues, than any other Kennedy. And though he may have more famous achievements (immigration reform, expanding health care, civil rights for the handicapped) he was also a champion of environmental causes. Here, we pay tribute to the less celebrated–but no less important–legacy of green achievements he left behind.

And it’s a pretty staggering list of achievements–from cosponsoring the first bill to put fuel economy standards in place, to tightening regulations on oil companies, to fighting to keep ANWR safe, to being an early proponent of renewable energy promotion, Kennedy has a long history of championing green causes and protecting the environment.

Here are some green highlights:

Holding Oil Companies Accountable During consideration of a 1975 tax cut proposal, Kennedy introduced a provision targeting the oil depletion allowance, which since 1926 had enabled oil producers to exclude 22 percent of their revenues from any taxes. Kennedy’s initiative passed overwhelmingly, trimming the allowance for independent producers and ending it for the major oil companies.

Raising Fuel Economy Standards

Senator Kennedy has a long and distinguished record supporting clean renewable sources of energy and reducing the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels. More than 30 years ago he cosponsored the first law to establish fuel economy standards. And in 2007, he supported a law which increased fuel economy standards, which is essential to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Improving Energy Efficiency

Senator Kennedy was a strong proponent of increasing energy efficiency, which is an essential part of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He was a long time supporter of programs like the weatherization assistance program and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program that helps those most in need reduce their energy bills by improving home energy efficiency.

Kennedy Fought to Cleanup Brownfields Sites and Revitalize Local Communities

In 2001, Senator Kennedy was a lead sponsor of the Brownfields Revitalization and Environmental Restoration Act, which authorized funds for assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites.

Of course, he did much more in his six terms as senator, but there’s not room to print the entire list here. But it’s safe to say that the US is a greener place thanks to his efforts. Ted Kennedy was one of the most powerful, respected, and influential senators in US history–his progressive vision and will be sorely missed.

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