Saturday, November 3, 2012

"4 Dead in Ohio": New evidence of state murder of students at Kent State University 42 years ago

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming
We’re finally on our own
This summer I hear the drumming
Four dead in O-hi-o...
Neil Young, Ohio
The images are shocking and iconic. The event shocked and divided a nation and galvanized the anti- war protest movement.

Neil Young wrote one of the great protests songs of all time about it. And 42 years later the truth of what really happened at Kent State University on May 4 1970 remains hidden.

On May 4 1970 the Ohio State National Guard opened fire on Kent State university students protesting the Vietnam War and the US invasion of Cambodia. The Guardsmen shot and killed 4 students- William Schroeder, Sandra Scheuer, Jeffrey Miller and Allison Krause- and wounded another 9 students.

Some of the students killed and wounded were not involved in the protest but were walking to class.
The Kent State shootings took place after National Guards dispersed a student protest using tear gas and charges with bayonets and rifles. As the students dispersed the Guardsmen retreated but around a dozen Guards reeled around and opened fire on the students, unleashing a 13 second barrage of 67 discriminant shots.

Eye witness accounts suggested that the National Guardsmen opened fire on the students without warning. 

Many of the students involved, family members and political campaigners have long argued  that the shootings were a form of state murder of student protestors with the goal of silencing anti war protests.
The official line has always been that the shootings were a tragic accident and that Guardsman feared for their lives claiming that a sniper among the students opened fire on them.  

The families of those killed and the wounded never accepted the official version of events and have fought for 42 years to find out the truth of what happened.

Now, new evidence suggests that that the National Guard were ordered by military commanders to fire. A number of the wounded students  and family members of those killed  now have digital forensic evidence to prove that military commanders shouted orders commanding the Guardsmen to fire before the barrage of shots broke out.

Further there are claims that the FBI and Government intelligence agencies managed the operation at Kent State, including events leading up to the shootings, the actual shootings and  the subsequent cover up to send a message to anti-war protestors in the US and over seas.

In an article to be published in the book Censored 2013: Dispatches from the Media Revolution Laurel Krause the sister of one of the students killed at Kent State has marshaled the evidence to shine the light on the shocking history of the the US Government involvement in the Kent State shootings and subsequent cover up. 

She writes:
For forty-two years, the United States government has held the position that Kent State was a tragic and unfortunate incident occurring at a noontime antiwar rally on an American college campus. In 2010, compelling forensic evidence emerged showing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) were the lead agencies in managing Kent State government operations, including the cover-up. At Kent State, lawful protest was pushed into the realm of massacre as the US federal government, the state of Ohio, and the Ohio National Guard (ONG) executed their plans to silence antiwar protest in America.

The new evidence threatens much more than the accuracy of accounts of the Kent State massacre in history books. As a result of this successful, ongoing Kent State government cover-up, American protesters today are at much greater risk than they realize, with no real guarantees or protections offered by the US First Amendment rights to protest and assemble. This chapter intends to expose the lies of the state in order to uncensor the “unhistory” of the Kent State massacre, while also aiming toward justice and healing, as censoring the past impacts our perspectives in the present.
They are now calls for an Independent Review and Justice Department investigation into the new evidence that the National Guard were ordered to fire on the students and that an FBI informant may have actually fired the first shots.
An official inquiry into the shooting at the time blamed both the students and the National Guardsmen but no one was ever charged, although civil action was pursued by the families of those shot and the wounded students. The Official Inquiry failed to investigate the reasons why the shootings happened.

At the time the shootings evoked national outrage and led to nationwide protests in the streets and on university campuses, including a national strike involving 4 million students and citizens. The shootings galvanised opposition to the war and the Nixon administration.

Senior Nixon officials later suggested that the shootings contributed to the descent into the Watergate scandal. The shootings came to symbolize the deep political and social divisions that so sharply divided the country during the Vietnam War era.

The shootings inspired Neil Young to write the song Ohio which was recorded and released by Crosby Stills, Nash and Young within 2 weeks of the shootings. The song is recognised as one of the great topical political 'protest 'songs of all time. It evokes the profound horror, anger and outrage that existed at the time.

This clip of the Crosby Stills Nash and Young version of Neil Young's song Ohio features chilling images from the shooting.

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