by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
May 6, 2007
The 1970 killings by National Guardsmen of four students during a peaceful anti-war demonstration at Kent State University have now been shown to be cold-blooded, premeditated official murder. But the definitive proof of this monumental historic reality is not, apparently, worthy of significant analysis or comment in today's mainstream media.
After 37 years of official denial and cover-up, tape-recorded evidence, that has existed for decades and has been in the possession of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has finally been made public.
It proves what "conspiracy theorists" have argued since 1970---that there was a direct military order leading to the unprovoked assassination of unarmed students. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents show collusion between Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes and the FBI that aimed to terrorize anti-war demonstrators and their protests that were raging throughout the nation.
It is difficult to overstate the political and cultural impact of the killing of the four Kent State students and wounding of nine more on May 4, 1970. The nation's campuses were on fire over Richard Nixon's illegal invasion of Cambodia. Scores of universities were ripped apart by mass demonstrations and student strikes. The ROTC building at Kent burned down. The vast majority of American college campuses were closed in the aftermath, either by student strikes or official edicts.
Nixon was elected president in 1968 claiming to have a "secret plan" to end the war in Southeast Asia. But the revelation that he was in fact escalating it with the illegal bombing of what had been a peaceful non-combatant nation was more than Americans could bear.
As the ferocity of the opposition spread deep into the grassroots, Nixon’s Vice President, Spiro Agnew, shot back in a series of speeches. He referred to student demonstrators as Nazi “brownshirts” and suggested that college administrators and law enforcement should "act accordingly."
On May 3, 1970---the day before National Guardsmen under his purview opened fire at Kent State--Rhodes echoed Agnew’s remarks by referring to student demonstrators as "the strongest, well-trained militant revolutionary group that has ever assembled in America … They’re worse than the brownshirts and the Communist element and the night riders and the vigilantes. They are the worst type of people that we harbor in America….”
Rhodes told a reporter that the Ohio National Guard would remain at Kent State “until we get rid of them” referring to a demographic group that was overwhelmingly white, middle class and in college.
The next day, Rhodes, the administration and the FBI sent those students a lethal message.
Rhodes was the perfect messenger. Bumbling and mediocre, with a long history of underworld involvement, Rhodes was a devoted admirer of Nixon, and of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Public records reveal that Rhodes was a virtual stooge for the FBI because of the agency's files tying Rhodes directly to organized crime.
When Kent's ROTC building was torched on May 2 under suspicious circumstances (student protestors couldn't get it to light until a mysterious "biker" showed up with a canister of gasoline) it provided the perfect cover for Rhodes to dispatch the National Guard.
But contrary to law, they were supplied with live ammunition. On May 4, in the presence of a peaceful, unthreatening rally, the Guard was strung along a ridge 100 yards from the bulk of the protestors. Earlier, rocks and insults had been hurled at the Guard. But not one of the numerous investigations and court proceedings involving what happened next has ever contended any of the students were armed, or that the Guard was under threat of physical harm at the time of the shooting.
For 37 years the official cover story has been that a mysterious shot rang out and the young Guardsmen panicked, firing directly into the "mob" of students.
This week, that cover story was definitively proven to be a lie.
Prior to the shooting, a student named Terry Strubbe put a microphone at the window of his dorm, which overlooked the rally. According to the Associated Press, the 20-second tape is filled with "screaming anti-war protectors followed by the sound of gunfire."