Laurel Krause is the co-founder and director of the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Her sister Allison Krause was killed at Kent State University on May 4th, 1970.
Third installment in a four part series on the May 4th Kent State Massacre
More than 42 years ago, four Kent State University students were murdered and nine were wounded on their campus during an anti-war demonstration against the Vietnam War. At the time of the massacre, more than 2,000 battle-clad, gun-toting soldiers were present to “protect the campus” that day.
When 67 shots were fired for 13 seconds at unarmed college students at 12:24pm on May 4, 1970, Kent State students within range of the shooters were changing classes or going to lunch, others were watching the exchange between the Ohio National Guard and the protesting students, and many students were protesting the occupation of their campus, the expansion of the Vietnam war and the Vietnam draft.
As this historic and lethal noontime military action began, Kent State University administrators made the decision to have the KSU campus stay open with no consideration for the safety of Kent State students. KSU’s decision enabled this battle to occur on their campus and KSU put their student body at risk.
Fast-forward to 2012, we have noticed a very similar brute, menacing, possibly lethal force directed at Occupy protesters and begin to realize the true significance of the murders and attempted murders that occurred in the May 4th Kent State massacre.
Even though so many years have passed, American leadership and KSU administrators continue to refer to Kent State as a ‘civil rights’ matter yet four college students were murdered, nine wounded at Kent State on May 4th. From a less biased perspective, it becomes clear that murder and attempted murder were what really happened at Kent State and every civilized nation understands murder trumps civil rights. Not so at Kent State.
Additionally, new forensic evidence emerged in 2010 illustrating how the US federal government organized this battle on domestic soil, including the Kent State aftermath and cover-up, managed mostly by the F.B.I.
This weekend at Kent State University, the May 4th Kent State Visitors Center will open on campus. Exhibit organizers spent a significant budget of $1.1 million to create the new interactive center. In promotional videos heralding this exhibit, KSU Professor Mark Seeman explains how exhibit organizers were “very careful” to portray a “fair story,” based on “conclusions from F.B.I. reports.”
TRUTH may or may not have been considered a key element at the new visitors center, especially as it promotes the same old Kent State story about civil rights instead of protester murder, thus supporting the Kent State cover-up. Basing the new exhibit on Kent State from F.B.I. reports when the F.B.I. was a central contributor in what occurred on May 4th is beyond deeply troubling.
Nonetheless, opening this Saturday, October 20, 2012 on the Kent State University campus during 'homecoming festivities,’ the brand-spanking new visitors center includes little new truth or substance as to what really occurred in the Kent State massacre on May 4, 1970. http://bit.ly/SYhbPt
Kent State: Was It about Civil Rights or Murdering Student Protesters?
by Laurel Krause with Mickey Huff
from Censored 2013: Dispatches from the Media Revolution, published by Seven Stories Press
The cover-up adds tremendous complexity to an already complicated event, making it nearly impossible to fairly try the Kent State massacre in the American justice system. This imposed “establishment” view that Kent State was about “civil rights”—and not about murder or attempted murder—led to a legal settlement on the basis of civil rights lost, with the US government consistently refusing to address the death of four students and the wounding of nine.14
Even more disheartening, efforts to maintain the US government cover-up at Kent State recently went into overdrive in April 2012, when President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) formally announced a refusal to open a new probe into the wrongs of Kent State, continuing the tired 1970 tactic of referring to Kent State as a civil rights matter.15
The April 2012 DOJ letters of response also included a full admission that, in 1979, after reaching the Kent State civil rights settlement, the FBI Cleveland office destroyed what they considered a key piece of evidence: the original tape recording made by Terry Strubbe on his dormitory window ledge. In a case involving homicides, the FBI’s illegal destruction of evidence exposes their belief to be “above the law,” ignoring the obvious fact that four students were killed on May 4, 1970. As the statute of limitations never lapses for murder, the FBI’s actions went against every law of evidence. The laws clearly state that evidence may not be destroyed in homicides, even when the murders are perpetrated by the US government.
The destruction of the original Strubbe tape also shows the FBI’s intention to obstruct justice: the 2012 DOJ letters on Kent State claim that, because the original Strubbe tape was intentionally destroyed, the copy examined by Allen cannot be compared to the original or authenticated. However the original Strubbe tape, destroyed by the DOJ, was never admitted into evidence.
The tape examined by Stuart Allen, however, is a one-to-one copy of the Kent State Strubbe tape admitted into evidence in Kent State legal proceedings by Joseph Kelner, the lawyer representing the victims of Kent State. Once an article has been admitted into evidence, the article is considered authentic evidentiary material.
Worse than this new smokescreen on the provenance of the Kent State Strubbe tape and FBI efforts to destroy evidence is that the DOJ has wholly ignored or refuted the tremendous body of forensic evidence work accomplished by Allen, and verified by forensic expert Tom Owen.16 If the US Department of Justice really wanted to learn the truth about what happened at Kent State and was open to understanding the new evidence, DOJ efforts would include organizing an impartial examination of Allen’s analysis and contacting him to present his examination of the Kent State Strubbe tape. None of this has happened.
Instead, those seeking justice through a reexamination of the Kent State historical record based on new evidence have been left out in the cold. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, involved in Kent State from the very beginning as a Cleveland city council person, asked important questions in a letter to the DOJ on April 24, 2012, titled, “Analysis of Audio Record of Kent State Shooting Leaves Discrepancies and Key Questions Unaddressed”:
While I appreciate the response from the Justice Department, ultimately, they fail to examine key questions and discrepancies. It is well known that an FBI informant, Terry Norman, was on the campus. That FBI informant was carrying a gun. Eyewitnesses testified that they saw Mr. Norman brandish that weapon. Two experts in forensic audio, who have previously testified in court regarding audio forensics, found gunshots in their analysis of the audio recording. Did an FBI informant discharge a firearm at Kent State? Did an FBI informant precipitate the shootings?
Who and what events led to the violent encounter that resulted in four students dead and nine others injured? What do the FBI files show about their informant? Was he ever debriefed? Has he been questioned to compare his statement of events with new analysis? How, specifically, did the DOJ analyze the tape? How does this compare to previous analysis conducted by independent sources that reached a different conclusion? The DOJ suggested noises heard in the recording resulted from a door opening and closing. What tests were used to make that determination? Was an independent agency consulted in the process?
For more than a year, I have pushed for an analysis of the Strubbe tape because Kent State represented a tragedy of immense proportions. The Kent State shooting challenged the sensibilities of an entire generation of Americans. This issue is too important to ignore. We must demand a full explanation of the events.17
Concerned Americans may join Congressman Kucinich in demanding answers to these questions and in insisting on an independent, impartial organization—in other words, not the FBI—to get to the bottom of this.
The FBI’s cloudy involvement includes questions about Terry Norman’s relationship to the FBI, addressed in Mangels’s article, “Kent State Shootings: Does Former Informant Hold the Key to the May 4th Mystery?”:
Whether due to miscommunication, embarrassment or an attempted cover-up, 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.18
Even more telling, Norman’s pistol disappeared from a police evidence locker and was completely retooled to make sure that the weapon—used to create the “sound of sniper fire” on May 4—would not show signs of use. Indeed, every “investigation” into Kent State shows that the FBI tampered, withheld, and destroyed evidence, bringing into question government involvement in both the premeditated and post-massacre efforts at Kent State. In examining all inquiries into Kent State, an accurate investigation has never occurred, as the groups involved in the wrongs of Kent State have been investigating themselves.19
14. Associated Press, “Kent State Settlement: Was Apology Included?,” Eugene Register-Guard, January 5, 1979, http://news.google.com/....
15. Mangels, “Justice Department Won’t Reopen Probe of 1970 Kent State Shootings,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), April 24, 2012, http://www.cleveland.com/... and kainah, “Obama Justice Dept.: No Justice for Kent State,” Daily Kos, May 2, 2012, http://www.dailykos.com/....
16. Mangels, “New Analysis.”
17. Letters between the Department of Justice and Representative Dennis Kucinich, archived at the Congressman’s website, April 20 and April 24 of 2012, http://kucinich.house.gov/... and http://kucinich.house.gov/....
18. Mangels, “Kent State Shootings: Does Former Informant Hold the Key to the May 4 Mystery?,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), December 19, 2010, http://www.cleveland.com/....
19. Freedom of Information Act, FBI.
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