This is courage


Blooded and beaten perhaps, but unbowed nor unapologetic Ken O’Keefe describes in his own words what took place and quite naturally it completely different than what the Israeli government said. My brief observations about O’Keefe’s revelations are these; he is an American patriot who embodies the spirit upon which this country was built, that of critical but principled dissent; respect for the Constitution and a courage to stand up for his convictions.  Unfortunately, the America of today finds such people a threat and will do everything to discredit them or worse.  O’Keefe also brings with him love for the dispossessed or in what might be called in today’s parlance, the underdog. I’m sure there are a lot of O’Keefe’s in the movement to bring much needed relief to the people of Gaza because they are surely needed.  I’m sure too, they realize the sacrifices they are making dealing with the wounded animal called the State of Israel which might include their deaths, but sacrifice was once a part of the fabric of America where going along to get along was not the way of doing business.  To all the O’Keefes of this movement, I salute you one and all.

I remember being asked during the TJP Human Shield Action to Iraq if I was a pacifist, I responded with a quote from Gandhi by saying I am not a passive anything. To the contrary I believe in action, and I also believe in self-defence, 100%, without reservation. I would be incapable of standing by while a tyrant murders my family, and the attack on the Mavi Marmara was like an attack on my Palestinian family. I am proud to have stood shoulder to shoulder with those who refused to let a rogue Israeli military exert their will without a fight. And yes, we fought.When I was asked, in the event of an Israeli attack on the Mavi Mamara, would I use the camera, or would I defend the ship? I enthusiastically committed to defence of the ship. Although I am also a huge supporter of non-violence, in fact I believe non-violence must always be the first option. Nonetheless I joined the defence of the Mavi Mamara understanding that violence could be used against us and that we may very well be compelled to use violence in self-defence.

I said this straight to Israeli agents, probably of Mossad or Shin Bet, and I say it again now, on the morning of the attack I was directly involved in the disarming of two Israeli Commandos. This was a forcible, non-negotiable, separation of weapons from commandos who had already murdered two brothers that I had seen that day. One brother with a bullet entering dead center in his forehead, in what appeared to be an execution. I knew the commandos were murdering when I removed a 9mm pistol from one of them. I had that gun in my hands and as an ex-US Marine with training in the use of guns it was completely within my power to use that gun on the commando who may have been the murderer of one of my brothers. But that is not what I, nor any other defender of the ship did. I took that weapon away, removed the bullets, proper lead bullets, separated them from the weapon and hid the gun. I did this in the hopes that we would repel the attack and submit this weapon as evidence in a criminal trial against Israeli authorities for mass murder.

I also helped to physically separate one commando from his assault rifle, which another brother apparently threw into the sea. I and hundreds of others know the truth that makes a mockery of the brave and moral Israeli military. We had in our full possession, three completely disarmed and helpless commandos. These boys were at our mercy, they were out of reach of their fellow murderers, inside the ship and surrounded by 100 or more men. I looked into the eyes of all three of these boys and I can tell you they had the fear of God in them. They looked at us as if we were them, and I have no doubt they did not believe there was any way they would survive that day. They looked like frightened children in the face of an abusive father.

But they did not face an enemy as ruthless as they. Instead the woman provided basic first aid, and ultimately they were released, battered and bruised for sure, but alive. Able to live another day. Able to feel the sun over head and the embrace of loved ones. Unlike those they murdered. Despite mourning the loss of our brothers, feeling rage towards these boys, we let them go. The Israeli prostitutes of propaganda can spew all of their disgusting bile all they wish, the commandos are the murders, we are the defenders, and yet we fought. We fought not just for our lives, not just for our cargo, not just for the people of Palestine, we fought in the name of justice and humanity. We were right to do so, in every way.

While in Israeli custody I, along with everyone else was subjected to endless abuse and flagrant acts of disrespect. Women and elderly were physically and mentally assaulted. Access to food and water and toilets was denied. Dogs were used against us, we ourselves were treated like dogs. We were exposed to direct sun in stress positions while hand cuffed to the point of losing circulation of blood in our hands. We were lied to incessantly, in fact I am awed at the routineness and comfort in their ability to lie, it is remarkable really. We were abused in just about every way imaginable and I myself was beaten and choked to the point of blacking out… and I was beaten again while in my cell.In all this what I saw more than anything else were cowards… and yet I also see my brothers. Because no matter how vile and wrong the Israeli agents and government are, they are still my brothers and sisters and for now I only have pity for them. Because they are relinquishing the most precious thing a human being has, their humanity.

In conclusion; I would like to challenge every endorser of Gandhi, every person who thinks they understand him, who acknowledges him as one of the great souls of our time (which is just about every western leader), I challenge you in the form of a question. Please explain how we, the defenders of the Mavi Marmara, are not the modern example of Gandhi’s essence? But first read the words of Gandhi himself.

“I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence…. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour.” – Gandhi

And lastly I have one more challenge. I challenge any critic of merit, publicly, to debate me on a large stage over our actions that day. I would especially love to debate with any Israeli leader who accuses us of wrongdoing, it would be my tremendous pleasure to face off with you. All I saw in Israel was cowards with guns, so I am ripe to see you in a new context. I want to debate with you on the largest stage possible. Take that as an open challenge and let us see just how brave Israeli leaders are.

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Exposing the Lie


Much has been said about the murder of civilians on board the Turkish ship headed for Gaza.  The Israeli government would have you believe the brave soldiers of the IDF responded to an attack against them by violent protestors.  They were able to get away with that lie because they thought they had confiscated any and everything that could chronicle what happened on the ship.  In the void created when the IDF took all recording devices and during a time when the activists were secluded from public view, the Israeli spin machine went into high drive with tall tales of bloodthirsty activists pouncing on overwhelmed soldier who responded by killing just a view or using paintball guns that failed to stem the violent reaction to the IDF’s presence.

Of course nothing was farther from  the truth as the picture above and others found here will testify. In fact what really happened is activists disarmed some IDF soldiers and tended to their wounds.  One of the pictures even seems to show an activist directing a soldier to a triage area or defending that soldier from further attacks by enraged activists.  In any event, Israel stopped people from being able to disseminate information and then took its time and made up  scenarios completely from the sky.

The deaths of activists occurred on the Turkish ship and some of the deaths were of Turkish nationals.  Is it not apparent now, beyond the fact that Israel wantonly kills its opposition no matter who they are, that this act of murder on a Turkish ship was meant to send a signal to the Turkish government  their mediation with Brazil and Iran was not welcomed?  In order for the Israeli government to survive it must dominant the entire region and all the countries therein must abide by the Israeli meme which is to maintain unstable regimes in that part of the world. It, the massacre of activists, was a shot across the Turkish political bow to back off from trying to play any role in the Middle East or else.

The ‘Mother’ of all ironies


People all over the world are entitled to their opinion about the state of Israel but when these opinions are those of dissent to what the state is doing Israel has decided to ban such people terrorists.  With that name affixed to yours or the group to which you identify, Israel considers it a very real possibility you are a threat to their existence and liable to face preemptive action or even death.  As a result the alternative rock group Pixies had better watch out the state of Israeli might very well target them.

In what I consider the ‘mother of all ironies’, the Israeli promoter for the bands appearance, which the band cancelled in protest of the murder of people on a relief convoy to Gaza, said

“I am full of both sorrow and pain in light of the fact that our repeated attempts to present quality acts and festivals in Israel have increasingly been falling victim to what I can only describe as a form of cultural terrorism which is targeting Israel and the arts worldwide,” he wrote.

“Fans cannot be punished for the deeds of their governments.”


Two things about what monsieur Shuki Weiss, the author of the above quote,  said. The most onerous is his equating a group’s right for them to choose who they want to associate with to a term that has become synonymous to death and destruction, when most likely the reason for the Pixies cancellation was to protest against death and destruction of the Jewish state. The second point to be made is Weiss’ assertion that fans, read people, shouldn’t be punished for the actions of their government is probably something everyone in the Gaza strip is saying and has been saying since the Israeli blockade of that country.
Israel has claimed for itself ‘victim’ status which means anyone who offers any opposition to the State’s policies and/or its actions is considered a terrorist in the eyes of the Israeli establishment. While the old saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me’ used to have meaning, now the tag of terrorism means extra judicial action might be taken against such people in ways only that State can decide. To make that point clear, here is another ominous quote from the same article

“The Israeli authorities must do what they can to fight against those who are doing everything they can to prevent artists from performing in Israel,” she (Moran Paz, a spokeswoman) said, without elaborating.

If the Pixies were to join a caravan seeking to give aid to Gazans, they most likely would be singled out for targeted assassination as were the people on the Turkish convey earlier last week.

The Pixies as well as Elvis Costello are entertainers who have decided to take a courageous stand against murder and the complete disregard for the rule of law which the Israelis have embraced for quite some time. Usually there is nothing wrong with such protest; Americans have the right to associate with whomever they want as well as the right to protest and the right to free speech. Unfortunately the Israelis don’t see things that way so they heap upon such people who dissent perhaps the ugliest and most incendiary term, terrorist, they can which means absent bowing and scraping before the altar of Israeli power in any act of penitence, such people are doomed to failure or worse, death. If nothing else the events over the last week have proven that to be true. But it is extreme chutzpah for someone to self-righteously declare that people shouldn’t be held accountable for what their government does, when that is exactly what the State of Israel is doing to the people of Gaza. Monsieur Weiss’ protestation would have more impact if he at first voted for people in Israel who would end the blockade (Miscellany101 wonders if such politicians exist in that country) or joined the next aid caravan headed for the strip. Absent those two actions, Weiss’ statements are hypocritical at best and inflammatory at worse but he is as entitled to them as The Pixies are to boycotting or refusing to play in Israel because of its high crimes. In fact, The Pixies are doing the state a favor by opposing Israel’s actions because they refuse to be enablers of a country that is headed to self-destruction.  If it, Israel, takes just a minute or two to reflect on what it is that drove The Pixies to their decision, perhaps the state will change course. But who are we kidding…….Israel is inextricably headed towards international condemnation and perhaps war because of its racist policies which they seem to cling to more passionately than the religion they say is the reason for their occupation. So a hat tip to The Pixies for their telling truth to power. I wish I could shake their hands…..all of them.