Archive for August, 2011

Part 1: Who’s afraid of accountability? Getting ethics back on the table

How is it possible that the noble causes of liberation of oppressed peoples has in some ways taken on the connotations of a business venture that has no regard for ethics? Is there even a danger that it is more sinister than that and we are actually witnessing a devastation of the role of activism into actions that resemble pyramid schemes or cons? A closer look at the matter certainly seems like a good idea.

There is a subject of enormous importance in the management of things that are considered to be of “public interest”, be they government, the third sector and companies, and that is the issue of ethics. Ethics has evolved as such a necessary topic even in private industry and corporate management that there is no longer any serious company that has not invested in an approach that makes them “competitive” even regarding ethical conduct, something that mistakenly has at times been considered only a problem for volunteer or non-profit organisations. On the surface ethics may seem abstract and complicated, and thus ignored by the vast public, (allowing the violation of ethical standards to become the norm since they are not even on the table) but ethics are instead really extremely basic and simple to understand and, it goes without saying, essential.

Ethics are not just for philosophy students anymore, they are a fundamental component in any fair social contract, and there are parameters that exist to determine whether or not conduct is ethical or unethical, not only for profit-making activities, but for those involving activism and in those entities that are NGOs. Since we are involved heavily in activities “for causes”, we can’t subtract ourselves from scrutiny regarding ethics.

For a very long time, based on a perceived need to enhance effectiveness regarding causes and mostly in order to remove the governmental (and thus political) interests from things that are considered “charitable” such as environmental and heritage conservation, human and animal rights and global poverty issues, hundreds of thousands of groups have emerged (in fact, given the tax benefits they obtain while collecting money, there is a virtual explosion of them) and set themselves up to accomplish tasks that are separate from governmental control and policy. There is the further advantage in this setup in that they can tap into a greater spectrum of the public (or even a better one) if they are perceived as removed from mainstream political interests, since many people have come to associate politics with special interest groups that seek to obtain power. And again, power itself has the perception as being negative though it is sought fervently. But remember, it is only someone else’s power that is perceived as a threat to the common good.

These charitable groups and NGOs are often run like businesses, and yet, they depend upon private financing or support from foundations without any personal return on investment beyond the image factor in order to administrate and deliver their services, (development programmes, aid and the like). Yet, no matter what it is they do, they would cease to exist without private financing. Usually these services have an aura attached to them that is positive and as such, they are attributed a further layer of values, and it is only with this intangible item (selling power of the idea/value) which they promote heavily that they obtain the private financing necessary for their survival. As an entity that requires money and handles other people’s money, they have to comply with specific standards to be able to operate and also be subject to a different and more favourable tax regime, but they also are expected to adhere to ethical standards that support their mission statement and make whatever is written there as their primary objective. They are “good guys” after all, we believe they are doing charity work with our hard-earned money, money which we freely accept to donate for someone else’s benefit, thus fulfilling various needs, making us feel better that we “save the world” and concretely obtaining material benefit for those who are the beneficiaries. There is an exchange going on that often translates into a kind of symbiotic need for one another and there are thousands of charities that hook us once, but other thousands that have us contributing to them on a regular basis. It can even become an emotional issue and at times we donors identify so deeply with the charity that we buy their stickers to put on our cars, we promote them in social networks and we even start to use their slogans in our speech. We do get a return of sorts from the arrangement, and this is something the charities tap into as part of their campaigns, since group belonging is a timeless social need and doing good for others is a positive human value.

In activism, we can argue back and forth all day about what is ethical and what is not, (some might say that the ends justify any means, but others will disagree) but to cut to the chase, in this paper we are not dealing with the vast and interesting subject of ethics, but simply concentrating on the ethics in the aspect of activism concerning most specifically an economic agreement, determining what is the core of the relationship between the “charitable organisation” and its “lifeblood”, i.e., its donors, and that can be summarised briefly in adherence to several key parameters. These are not in any way based on abstract principles, because if your bank, which is interested in making a profit off of your need to obtain liquidity to live on or loans so that you can develop your own projects (personal or collective) is required to fulfil the obligations of ethical standards, how much more should a charitable organisation be ready and willing to comply with them in order to obtain your support and money with no personal return on your contribution except that feel-good sensation and being able to tell your friends how generous you are!

What are the parameters available for assuring that a charity behaves ethically regarding its donors and members of the organisation? Accountability (being able to justify decisions made, making them in a manner that is in line with core principles and philosophy of the organisation and assuring that the decisions truthfully reflect the adherence to the mission statement or purpose and respect legal and financial norms as well as internal codes of conduct), Transparency (rendering the bookkeeping, organisational structure and purpose available to donors and auditors and even to possible donors so that it is clear how much money is spent where and a level of monitoring and control can be applied), Responsibility (liability towards members, donors, beneficiaries that the work done and the money obtained fulfils the purposes of the mission and responding formally according to statutes and legal norms if there are violations). These principles should be self-evident, but they are far too often lacking in some entities that obtain or spend other people’s money in the name of a cause’s mission statement, (granted that they even have one!). Some leaders of organisations will even insist they are exonerated from meeting these requirements, that they have special status that releases them from compliance to these three core principles, and that is what one can call the idea of exceptionalism, present more often in a cult than in a legitimate charity organisation.  It is logical to assume that this kind of organisation has the tendency of morphing its cause and its actions from one purpose to another, the only consistent element is the leader, and in fact, the leader often finds himself in a no-win confrontation with the members of the organisation, as the “right vs right” dilemma I will describe below does not sublimate into the benefit of the common good but in the predominance of the
individual.

It is obvious that if we are responsible persons, we must be aware and accept that at the basis of those three principles is one core value, honesty. The moment that honesty is lacking or that demands for honesty are met with brutal hostility, one can be certain that ethics are simply not taken into account, or we can assume that they are twisted so that there is no compliance with standards that all can consider obligatory for any social contract, which most of the time is an unspoken (tacit) agreement between parties, but in the case of charity, has a further series of rules and expectations. There is nothing more sickening and disgusting as knowing that money donated to feed the poor is spent in obtaining personal benefits, privileges and power for those who are part of the charity’s organisation. Deviation of resources is the worst possible offense that a charity can commit, and it endangers even “clean”  charities who are painted with the same brush as thieving and unreliable cons. The only way to avoid this charge is full disclosure, as well as it being a legally binding task in most countries, it is also morally necessary to comply with basic ethics.  The charity can only survive as such an entity if it conforms to ethical standards, since we know, the competition for our donations is fierce.

Since I mentioned that we must comply with a social contract, let’s take a step back for one minute and define what a social contract is, and doing that, we need to define what a contract is and realise the vast majority of humanity lives in a contract-based society and that the contracts begin the moment that humans have been weaned, they are not necessarily signed documents, but they are an agreement on the equitability of an exchange (fairness). It is part of our lives and activities on a constant basis. This makes it in our interests to be conscious of what is ethically acceptable in charity which moves dangerously into becoming “the solidarity industry” and what just as dangerously, uses privilege and inequitable contracts as its core value and modus operandi, using outsiders (donors and beneficiaries) as the pawns in a game of profit, and to allow us informed consent before we decide to give to one organisation and not another, conscious of the risks all of this entails.

The basis of social living is the acceptance of transparency of rules and acceptance of the equitableness of agreements made between parties (assuming to live in a society with the rule of law and justice as being fundamental values). In order for people to live in society, they have to know that there is an agreement made for everything, and for the most part, the negotiation of it can be avoided, as the acceptable terms are tacit, but somewhere down the line there are norms and standards that regulate these things. The agreement predates them and almost every single time, it is an agreement that has terms they did not have an active part in establishing.

With free choice, we have continual and constant tacit contracts in all of our activities, and especially those involving money, since they are regulated by law. It is up to us to expect those we are involved with to be legitimate, and to prove that they are legitimate is their moral obligation. There is no exceptionalism where justice is concerned, if there is privilege, we need to be aware of it and then we decide if the privilege can be allowed or not.

If we begin to consider that there are rules for others, but not for us (privilege), we are then indeed not respecting or considering as valid a social contract of equality before the law and society (and these things I am calling laws may only be social mores and values that a certain interest group  considers as essential). If this is the case, we fall on the side of those who are not adhering to ethical standards of justice and equality, and we need to be aware of that. Ethics in anything that seeks consensus or donations in order to exist and function is required to adhere to minimum standards, ones that even businesses for profit have realised they must respect and conform to, since the division between private and public interest has become far less distinct.

It should not surprise us that there are ethics committees for almost all major industries, because not only are they accountable to their shareholders, they are aware that there are laws in the countries they operate in that require disclosure. They also know that internal conflicts, a physiological part of any social construct, which academics categorise as “right versus right” (for instance, in a business ethics situation it is positive to obtain greater profits for their shareholders and have large returns on investments while at the same time it is positive to maintain low prices so that consumers do not abandon their purchasing of these goods and services) can only be resolved by a process known as “entrepreneurial wisdom”, where the “greater good” is striking a balance between the two in the increased perception of one’s own role as party of a “contract” requiring the sublimation of the factional interest. Emerging from these conflicts is the success or failure of what can be considered to be in the end a decisional style that must favour one of the “right” principles at the expense of the other, or instead accepts that there is a benefit in being subject to ethical compliance not only to stay competitive or in business, but because of the acknowledgement of the synthesis between being dependent (part of a system) and independent (individuals and companies). In the end, each party “monitors” the other as well as is affected by the actions of the other, and adjusts behaviour in order to keep the “right vs right” conflict manageable and not destructive.  The rules for this conflict resolution are none other than those basic tools of ethics, accountability, transparency, responsibility. This means that for corporate and commercial society, and even for charities which imply a social contract involving monetary investments or goods and services exchanges of any kind, there should be no question that there is an expectation of compliance with the instruments that are the barometer of ethical conduct in this relationship.

So, that brings us back to the requisites of an ethical charity. Do they comply with the core standards stated earlier? Accountability, transparency and responsibility? How do we check that they are in compliance? By being aware of the levels of disclosure, both internal (within the charity) and external (between the charity and the donors or the charity and the control organisms). If they comply and we agree they are equitable, great, if they do not, they must undergo complete rehaul and assume liablity for damages to trust of donors and beneficiaries, or not continue to exist, taking away vital funding from other legitimate causes and charities and if they do not disclose anything, run for the hills! My conclusions are based on many years of campaigns for fundraising for causes and association with many charitable organisations both in the USA and Europe, with beneficiaries in every continent. I am certain that a legal expert could further explain the basic needs and even add others that I neglect, but in my own experience, these are the requirements to make a group legitimate. It is not like giving money to a friend when we give to a charity, where there is a specific set of minimum standards.

Each organisation or charity that takes collections or accepts donations is bound to draw up a mission statement which defines the entity’s purpose and scope. Those who are part of the organisation will have further contracts or agreements within that organisation which define their roles in within the group in order to obtain the goals of the mission statement. They will determine their limitations, duties, decisional powers as well as entitlements such as compensation (rights and obligations). There is a well-defined organisational structure that is agreed upon, including the
organisation’s terms (until the conclusion of a specific project, until a date, until the collection of a certain amount of donations, forever and ever amen, etc.) and decisional and administration procedures (internal management and accounting up to external auditing procedures which will necessarily mirror the minimum requirements of the laws in force in the country the groups are registered in). They can be compiled in an acts of association or statute, at times they contain annexes laying out the projects clearly with budget estimates and actual feasibility projects with blueprints and the like, but however, they must be explicitly expressed and agreed upon for them to be legally binding in case of dispute, at times they must even cite and reprint the specific legal regulations that support and give legitimacy to the project including obtaining permits and determination of liability for violation of norms. To be clear, having a website may not be considered enough to stipulate a contract of this sort, since sites are subject to change without notice. Organisations and even committees at the very least have an internal organisation that is evident to those within the organisation and may be obtained by external parties upon request if they are in any way public and ask for donations from anyone, and it often would look very boring on a website, but these things should exist. Why? Because shit happens. Money gets diverted, accidents happen, people with power leave organisations and the organisation itself is then challenged as if it is still legitimate or not, organisations change their purpose while maintaining the same name, laws change or there is the violation of laws. Things need to be on paper and it is not a luxury to have them on paper, it is the bare minimum, unless you are a street committee that sells pies to raise funds for someone’s college education.

Those who donate are often unaware of who is behind an organisation, but it has for a long time been established in activist circles that to avoid conflict of interest and association with organisations or donors that could compromise the mission statement, that the body of the organisation is rendered public as well as their compensation. This has now become the norm in charity, and the publication of this information is not a privilege. In fact, it should be expected. Any connection with other organisations is also necessary to obtain for reasons ranging from compliance with local laws to being assured of the validity of the organisation and its track record (if it is able to accomplish the goals of its mission statement or if it is unrealistic and doomed to failure, and thus, to the disintegration of the funds obtained). All of this falls under the concept of ethics and involves the core elements of transparency, accountability and responsibility. So, in addition to being necessary for the needs of activists to be assured that there is correct use of donations, there is a practical basis which makes these things mandatory.

And that is why for years and years, activists are demanding that they obtain accountability. The charismatic leader is no longer enough for most people, unless they have an attraction to the cult of personality, which is how that particular public will be targeted, and especially important in this methodology is assuring that the leader is worthy of such a task. If the leader has a success rate close to zero in fulfilling any of the previous charity purposes his name has been involved in, it might just be a cult and not a bona fide charity.  Success is measured in the cost/expenses vs. gains – in this case the gains are translated in low overhead and maximum use of resources by the beneficiaries. Example, if X amount of money is raised to bring in tonnes of concrete to Gaza, one bag is not going to cut it unless all that was collected was 5 Euros. This is not an acceptable exchange at all, unless all that was raised was 5 Euros, and someone should check if an organisation capable of raising what we spend in coffee each day is worth any investment or if it is a big joke. There are other criteria that are necessary beyond the image of the leader, and they all centre around ethics. There can be bad structures due to inexperience and faulty consulting, there can be deception and mismanagement due to the belief that all that is required is the “I feel good giving my money and you feel good taking it” kind of trust which is an ego-based exchange, but in the middle of it is something as fundamental as the fulfilment of a mission statement that is supposed to benefit the recipients of the charity (the poor or those in need). If they are not the primary and dominant recipients of the donations, it’s time to think really seriously about what is wrong with that charity and ask if it is instead a business using the idea of solidarity to get money.

There is currently a heavy dispute in activism for Palestine where one organisation that has split has been engaged for several months in a battle for legitimacy and donations that were collected by all the people in the organisation. At the end of the day, the only parameter that counts is whether or not there is a legal and ethical basis that will support the claims being made by both sides. That the explosion happened at all was only a matter of time, as this writer and several others were pointing towards the ethical gaps that were not slight cracks but gaping holes in this way of DIY activism that ignores basic rules. If our suggestions and warnings were not heeded, it still might not be too late to rectify for the future and avoid the same errors repeating ad infinitum. Things can be ignored as they have with the other campaigns that never provided accountability and are related in some way by the presence of the same people involved, or it is time that clarity and honesty and truth start to mean something. At this point, the only criteria left is “let’s see the books” for anyone who has donated or anyone who has committed to participating in the charity organisation at any level. Based on transparency, accountability and responsibility, in other words, on ethics, the conflict should be resolved without much room for dispute and in the only way possible, by evidence and adherence to ethics.  There have been some who have been calling the necessary respect of ethics as being “on a witch hunt”, as if there is something wrong in seeking this in actions that are going to have an effect on a cause. This leads this writer to believe that instead of a charity, we are dealing with something that has sinister connotations, a cult, and that will be the topic of the next paper.

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Beware the Gatekeepers who shift the focus off facts and onto smear

It seems that one of the issues currently engaging the activist community is still the one about accountability, “trial by blog”, Ken O’Keefe’s narrative and the “new” element thrown into the mix, unsolicited, Conflict Arbitration between activists! Salem News has been censoring the comments. Except in the moments when they use a very unorthodox technique of not allowing the comments to exist on their own, but are “commented on in bold print” by the editor. That itself is a practice that clearly demonstrates the respect that the editor believes the interlocutors deserve, i.e., practically none. Several comments you see on this site never made it, and perhaps this one will not either, but we believe it is a vital contribution to understanding the elements involved in the “Ken Dispute” regarding the investigative article that seems to continue to disturb Salem News, a “news” site which actually never checked once for any accuracy of the reports they made, nor did they listen to any other information (objective or from a counterparty) in order to establish truth. All that seems to matter is for them to justify whatever it is Ken does. He is their hero after all, and they have much invested in him, since they have been pimping his projects and soliciting donations. All we are left with is a distorted form of “truth” when this is the case. In that sense, we reprint this extremely informative response to a comment (in full at the base) by the Dr. M. Dennis Paul.

Christina Baseos wrote:
@ M. Dennis Paul

I hope that your unwillingness to take this further doesn’t mean that I’m deprived from my right to reply to your last. Moreover, I have no reasons, as of this writing, to believe that the moderators are censoring comments and I’m in hope that they will not give me grounds to change my mind on this now!

Before I address your comments, let me just point out that the use of offensive language never strengthens our arguments or proves us right. I sincerely hope that you don’t describe your clients’ arguments as “bullshit”, when you are the mediator in one of the areas of your expertise.

To the point now.
The clause I provided by BIMCO is the Dispute Resolution Clause that is used in shipping. I was clear on that. However, I gave you this example since the main body of this clause is the one that has been adopted worldwide and covers almost 99% of the business market. Of course there are variations depending on the sector, such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Sugar-Trade Association, Oil Industry, Grain traders, etc.

I’d like to ask if you could provide a source that people can refer to (i.e. a website) that provides information on the proceedings of a dispute resolution for the organization you propose to be formed? Could you refer the readers to a format of an arbitration/mediation resolution similar to the one you propose? At this stage details such as appointment of the Tribunal, place & law of arbitration/mediation, etc are not important. A source that provides general information for organizations such as the one proposed will suffice.

The “dispute” you are proposing to be brought before ADR is between Ken O’ Keefe and Mary Rizzo, however it still remains unclear as to what it is exactly that they need to resolve. It has to be made clear into which category/specialty/field Mary’s & Ken’s “dispute” falls into. What is the nature of their “dispute” exactly and what would the purpose of an ADR be?
Would the scope of an ADR be to conciliate Ken & Mary? To validate the contents of Mary’s article and verify her evidence/proof? To prove to the donors and generally to the movement that donations have been wisely spent?
I don’t take for granted that all readers have knowledge in arbitration/mediation proceedings, therefore I’m clarifying that ADR is not panacea for every single case and there are several cases that are only brought before a Court of Law, such as murder, theft, embezzlement, fraud, etc.

You keep repeating that you are a specialist. Bravo! Well done! But no matter how many times you repeat it, this will never make you a specialist in everything. Everyone’s knowledge is “limited”. Limited to certain fields. It seems you don’t want to accept this. There are orthopedics and there are pediatricians. Both are doctors, both are specialists, just not in the same field.
So, be a specialist in your field and have the humbleness for others to be specialists in other fields.
Phrases such as “your limited knowledge” , “specialists (such as myself)”, “Your challenge to my expertise fails” only boost your self-esteem. Other than this, they fall on deaf ears.
Disagreements exist also between specialists. Your Galileo example was felicitous, however the problem arises when everyone believes they are Galileo and not one of those who believe that the world is flat.

You say “I have not formally addressed any claims against Mary as, of this moment….”.
“As of this moment”….is that a promise or a threat that you will formally address claims in the future? Whatever it means it certainly shows lack of memory. I suggest you re-read your article and comments.
You say that you have already stated that there may well be issues regarding Ken that deserve review.
I asked you in my previous comment if you have indeed read Mary’s article and the comments that follow it.
I suspect you have not read any of it, because if you had, you would have seen that what you think she “believes” she has in her hands as evidence, actually is uncontested evidence (as opposed to circumstantial), therefore is deemed proof with regards to the “kidnapping” of Ken and the alleged charter of the vessel. I cannot convince you that King Elvis is DEAD and you cannot convince me or any other person, who is prudent and actually uses his brains for critical thinking, how one who was “kidnapped” rejects to be released by his “kidnapper”, when offered so, or denies to testify his “kidnapping” to the police authorities. But these are just technicalities for you, aren’t they?
I forgot that you deny to discuss on the merits of a case, for which case a journalist used her right to write an article about and for which article you then come out of the blue, 9 months later proposing ADR and criticizing Mary Rizzo about the way she decided to write her own piece.

On top of that you criticize people for doing “trial by blog”. I will keep you posted on the trial by LAW, if you wish, in the meantime I’m looking forward to your next article, here in Salem-News or elsewhere, where you will be dealing with the way the opposite party has dealt with this issue through his various blogs and numerous social networks, expecting you to be impartial about the actions and behavior of Ken, when he was issuing “verdicts” and seeking “public hanging” of individuals and/or business entities, by throwing accusations for actions of criminal nature, always of course within the limits of the “civilized society” he’s a member of.
I will read your article carefully as soon as you publish it.

I didn’t ask what common sense dictates as to whether individuals or groups acting outside of the organization are already distanced or not. I asked your opinion of whether you believe that Ken would be accepted in such an organization, if and when such one is formed. It was a simple yes or no question. Opinions are not binding you know, so why not feel free to express them? Maybe if I rephrase the question you will feel more comfortable in answering. Are you of the opinion that Ken has the credentials of becoming a member of such an organization, which ultimately would result in his acceptance by it?

My “prerequisite premise continues” with my “incessant need” for transparency, as opposed to cover-up. I’m sorry but you give the impression that there is a rough sea in your brain. My exact sentence was:
“I second that, however given the prerequisite that justice and truth are fundamental principles of the organization and that these values will be served no matter what. Without this prerequisite both justice & truth are at risk of being sacrificed in the name of the organization’s scopes, widely known also as “cover-up”.”
I do wonder though why you have the “incessant need” to not comment on the issue of transparency since you make no mention whatsoever about it. On the contrary, you are twaddling on sociological behaviors that belong in the middle ages.
And what happens when truth and justice are not obtained? What happens when there is no transparency? Would you care to share with the rest of the world what you believe SHOULD be done instead of repeating what you think should NOT be done?

I don’t try Ken by blog. I assure you that the competent judicial system is dealing with this. I only take privilege of my right to reply to numerous unsubstantiated accusations and numerous information spread by Ken, which is deliberately presented falsely. I only make use of my personal knowledge, evidence and proof I’m in possession of, to refute Ken’s lies and debunk his unjustified claims & allegations regarding the “kidnapping” and the fiasco that followed it.

You say that Ken appropriately is NOT giving answers. Not everyone shares your point of view though and especially not the donors.
Then again I wonder if I should expect to hear something different, when it’s crystal clear that you don’t seek transparency.
I couldn’t have more supportive proof than your own writings making reference to my last paragraph of my previous comment, where I stated that lack of transparency is what discourages people from joining movements and that silence in perpetuity is was actually causes harm.
It is yourself who wrote what your actual belief on transparency & silence is:
“The remainder of your final paragraphs are nothing but more bullshit.”
Is that so? I will put aside, just for a moment, the case of the fake “kidnapping” and each & every article, blogpost, FB post, tweet, TV appearance, interviews, etc made by Ken, Mary, myself, members of the convoy, people involved directly or indirectly to this case, in other words hundreds of people. Let’s assume that none of this ever happened and nothing ever came out in the media.
You say you are a veteran activist and that you are “one who has witnessed and become embroiled in controversies within a variety of activist organizations”.
In light of this, surely you know how things run in activism and surely you know that a big part of it depends on donations.
The “kidnapping” took place in Libya, while RTH’s convoy was there. A ship was required for the transportation of the convoy’s vehicles to Egypt. The charterer of the vessel had to pay a freight. RTH asked for people to donate money in order for the freight of the vessel to be paid. The money was gathered. According to RTH and Ken, who was the convoy’s leader, the freight was paid to the shipowner.
The exact amount of freight paid still remains a mystery though, since according to Ken’s writings one time it was $55,000, the other $75,000 and the third $82,500. Whatever the exact amount they allegedly paid (and this is where the term “allegedly” needs to be used since the burden of proof, i.e. the payment or wire receipt of the money paid to the shipowning company still lies with RTH & Ken up to this date), we are still talking about a 5-digit number, which was raised from DONATIONS.
At some point RTH & Ken said that the money was safely recovered….whatever that means.

Enter TRANSPARENCY!

First, what is the exact amount of money recovered? Second, what happened to the money?
RTH & Ken wrote and promised that RTH would go through an internal review with regards to this whole incident. The outcome of the review remains unknown, as of this writing, and a considerable number of donors is still not informed as to whatever happened to the money they donated for a humanitarian cause.
It still remains a mystery to what happened to a 5-digit amount of dollars.

According to you, Dennis, the indefeasible right of every donor for transparency is “bullshit”!!!
According to you, investigative journalism, by an activist, on a humanitarian organization and a convoy’s leader, who had undertaken the task of delivering aid to Palestine, which aid had been gathered through donations and who have failed to be transparent as to how they dealt with donations of thousands of dollars is “bullshit”!!!
According to you, taking things to the media, whilst you’re ostentatiously ignoring the fact of who took things to the media first and for how long, “is not practical” and “serves no worthy resolution”. Instead, takings things before ADR and behind closed doors is the “proper venue”.
So, for argument’s sake, if one adopts your way of thinking, should someone come to the conclusion that Bernstein and Woodward, who revealed the Watergate scandal, should never have applied investigative journalism to bring things to the media, instead they should have referred the case to ADR “to act upon that to the benefit of” of democracy or the political party’s “mission”?

My only motive, and it surely isn’t “confused” as you are wishfully thinking, is that when it comes to other people’s money that transparency is ensured. And that should be yours as well.
Your sudden appearance out of nowhere, wearing the mask of the peacemaker and consultant, with an article about a person with proven track record in journalism & activism, makes people question your true motives. For as long as you are not treating everyone fairly and squarely in a “dispute”, but instead you choose to target the person whose article was actually “damaging” to Ken (not my words, Tim King’s words) and choose to not equally address “whoever else are attempting to conduct trial by blog” , your motives are the ones questioned..
This only looks like part of a strategic plan of diverting attention. Who is the person who “damaged” Ken most in his RTH fiasco? Mary Rizzo (again not my words, Tim King’s words). What is Ken facing the past days? Doubts & concerns raised by specific people about the Trade-Not-Aid project. Why not take some preventive actions and divert the focus to Mary Rizzo, in a hopeless effort to prevent her from writing another investigative article on Ken’s latest saga.

Let’s call a spade a spade. Everyone on this planet is judged for their actions. Everyone. Why not activists as well? People who want to be called activists and advocates of truth, justice & peace should not have the audacity to demand their actions not be criticized. Especially, when their actions depended on other people’s money. When either an individual or an organization ask for donations, automatically they are bound to be transparent, accountable and truthful to everyone. Let alone that being transparent is an ethical obligation. Suspicions are raised when someone constantly denies to give answers. It’s not humiliating to give answers. Not to mention that if one has nothing to hide, when providing answers, he will gain more support and respect. Unless of course the ultimate purpose of an activist is not to offer his services for a humanitarian cause but to just create an image about himself, create a persona and remain in the limelight. One marketing strategy is creating negative publicity. It might be negative, but it’s still publicity. If these are the ultimate goals of someone, who wants to call himself an “activist”, then so be it. But then, he will have to deal with the consequences as well.

To conclude, in your various attempts to make people understand what arbitration/mediation is, you failed to make clear that applying double standards is absolutely prohibited for a mediator.
So, until you come clean and until we all read an article of yours of the same nature about Ken, pointing out his wrongdoings and mishandlings of this case, making it clear through your writings that Ken should not have tried anyone by blog or tweets or FB posts and that he should now choose ADR as the “proper venue” for the resolution of the conflict, instead of the media, it would be wise to refrain yourself from further exposure that only makes your integrity as a professional questionable.
I’m in sincere hope that your article on Ken’s actions of taking things to the media will come out soon, as he surely needs advice to take things to ADR with regards to the latest saga of Trade-Not-Aid & Samouni Project. If you are so concerned in resolving conflicts by taking them before ADR, I suggest you do not wait for another 9 months to criticize Mary Rizzo or Mary Poppins, if and when they write an article on Ken’s latest fiasco. It will be too little too late.

Over & out.

from Salem News:
M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. August 7, 2011 8:47 am (Pacific time)

Christina

I will address each paragraph in order and then we will be done with this.

Apology accepted.

Your example of BIMCO is of no particular value here. BIMCO has accepted a particular format for itself. Other industries, businesses or groups will select their own which may or may not be similar. Mediation and/or arbitration do not follow a standard formula or approach across all interests. There are a wide variety of formats and formulas which are used. Various businesses and organizations will establish an arbitration clause based upon the model they choose. Typically, that model is one that best suits the expected areas of conflict particular to the business or org. Depending upon the State or nation of origin (jurisdiction), certain aspects of the clause, for it to elicit enforceable decision or memorandum, must conform to specific laws or regulations. However, if you read clauses carefully, in many ADR formats, the conflicted parties may agree to altering any aspect of the format and degree of enforceability (ie Binding/non-binding, monetary/censure, etc). ADR is, and will likely remain, a fluid area for resolution of conflict. Now, your limited knowledge regarding this aside, your initial proposal was the impartiality of the mediator/arbiter. So let’s return to that. There exists a school of thought, far more honest with regard to ADR, that being human, the specialist cannot be truly impartial in most every situation. Therefor, specialists (such as myself) address this at the onset and explain further the genuine process of ADR and how any personal bias is both attempted to be restrained and properly addressed when it arises. With that in mind, my example of initial rule of order is presented.

Should there be need for a separate ADR proposed with regard to the ship owner and activists, something we were not previously addressing here, that is an entirely different matter. I am glad that BIMCO keeps up with the awards as this does open them to more advanced alternatives to explore in reaching settlements. It has, however, absolutely nothing to do with our exchange. Your challenge to my expertise fails, Christina, and I am not the one doing the barking.

I have not formally addressed any claims against Mary as, of this moment, no one has proposed any to address beyond their beliefs that many of her allegations against Ken are false. I have already stated there may well be some issues regarding Ken that deserve review. The same for Mary. Further, I have stated that this is not the appropriate format for so doing. You fail in this effort to draw me into the unproductive banter. I accept that Mary believes she has irrefutable evidence against Ken. I do not need to contact her directly in that regard. Evidence, Christina, is not proof and this is something that you, Mary, and numerous others fail to take into account. In the minds of many, there existed evidence that the world was flat. That evidence, upon examination and review, was determined not credible. Mary could well have used alleged in the matter to which you refer. This, again, is covered in the above regarding evidence. You persist in trial by blog as opposed to a format for resolution you alternately claim would be of proper value. Please make up your mind. I’ve no intention of returning to this mode of exchange with you.

I appreciate that you find my proposal attractive. There is no way for me to hypothesize the acceptance of Ken, Mary, you or anyone else in an organization that seeks to unify the various platforms of a multitude of groups seeking the freedom for Palestine. That is a pointed question on your part and not at all helpful in the discourse. Common sense, however, should tell you that whatever structure emerges to unify such groups, those individuals or groups that act outside of the organization, for whatever reason, are already distanced from the organization. Should their acts be detrimental to the freeing of Palestine, it is concretely deniable, by the organization that they are, in any way, associated with such groups or acts.

It is not a requirement in all offers or referrals to mediation/arbitration that both parties accept the ADR specialist(s). Some businesses refer all matters, as defined in a signed employment clause or purchase /use clause, to either an internal ADR program or third party program. Some allow for mutual determination of specialist. Certainly, where someone has offered services it would be appropriate that both parties have right to agree or disagree to the intermediary. Your point is lost as I have not offered to facilitate such an endeavor. I have offered to serve in an advisory capacity to any organization should one form. I reiterate, that in my position, I have clearly stated there may be cause for review of charges and behaviours of both parties. I also reiterate that my offer extends only to the area I have clearly stated.. and NOT as a “possible future” mediator/arbiter. Try your best to create argument outside of these facts and you continue to look a provocateur as opposed to someone genuinely seeking resolution.

Your “prerequisite” premise continues with your incessant need to publicize with the supposition that your case is already proven. In reality, Christina, thousands upon thousands of decisions by judges, mediators, arbiters and others are never publicized. Certainly the effort is made to obtain some sense of truth and justice (however, this is not the case in most court systems throughout the world -but I will not address this now) and to act upon that to the benefit of the organization’s mission. Civilized societies have no need to castigate errant individuals by pillory in the public square. In so many cases, it is not even essential to effect censure or banishment as sincere intent often is discovered in the course of review and only correction is necessary. I suspect both you and Mary seek a public hanging.

Ken is appropriately NOT giving answers in this case. Mary, you and whoever else are attempting to conduct trial by blog establishing yourselves as prime investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury. This was the whole point of proposing ADR. Your continuance in attempting to trial him in this manner belies any genuine belief on your part that ADR would be the appropriate venue. You are constantly pulling down your own pants and either blaming the manufacturer for your embarrassment or the neighborhood bully. Make up your mind, Christina. The nature of claims against Ken is not resolved by opinions or consensus regarding offered “evidence”. You truly seem incapable of grasping this. Media play of evidence and counter is not practical, for many reasons that should be apparent, and serves no worthy resolution.

I have “implied “ nothing. I have clearly stated that the proper venue for addressing her claims and “evidence” is ADR. To do otherwise and continue pushing the issue in media without genuine desire for resolve (other than a desire for conviction based upon beliefs that the evidence is irrefutable) is splitting at its very best and absolutely harms the movement. Mary simply needs to offer resolution as opposed to trial by blog, Ken needs to agree, and both parties need to seek out a skilled specialist to carry it forth. Then all this bullshit ends and we get back to doing beneficial work.

The remainder of your final paragraphs are nothing but more bullshit. Things neither stated nor implied by me but used in your attempt to continue your very confused motives. With regard to the pictures accompanying the articles, I do not choose those although I may have some control over this in the future.

NOW… TO MARY RIZZO: Putting aside your snarky comments which continue to reflect poorly upon you, a very simple yes or no is all that is required in response to the following.

Are you willing to place this matter before ADR (my services not offered here) and seek a genuine, sincere resolve?

By CHRISTINA BASEOS
In case someone missed the latest post on Salem-News about Mary Rizzo’s dossier on Ken O’ Keefe, here is the link.

http://www.salem-news.com/articles/august052011/okeefe-rizzo-mdp.php

A few comments have been posted under the article, which you can also read via the above link.

However, if you are reading this now, you can consider yourselves lucky, as here you can also read a few comments left in the website several hours ago, that have not yet been posted by the moderators.

I blame the time difference between Europe and the Pacific!

COMMENTS STILL AWAITING TO BE POSTED:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Mary Rizzo:

for a site that has a huge ad SCREW AMERICA I STAND WITH ISRAEL, that is some pulpit. I don’t need to engage with an unsolicited arbitor to “settle” an account or a “kerfuffle”: If he is so talented, the doctor should offer his pro bono services to straightening out Israel, with Tim King’s kind approval! I am convinced that humans are free to have the right to question any and all methods, procedures and aims.

Limiting this restricts their freedoms. I had also asked and invited Ken O’Keefe to be interviewed and he agreed, until it was made clear to him that he would not have the right to obtain the questions before the interview. No other party made any such demands, and he himself declined to be interviewed so as to respond in full to any and all issues that were raised. Thus, the responsibilty is firmly on his shoulders if he feels that his press statements, tweets, FB messages and internet articles and video appearances were not fully representative of his view. I believe that the fact that he takes such issue and that not a single point raised in the dossier (and look up the word Dr, apparently, you are unfamiliar with the word since you repeatedly take issue with it!) was ever challenged with any evidence to exclude the points raised as being fully valid. As to the rest, the public will be the judge, and it seems that at this point, relying on Ken’s personality to carry through is not suffiently adequate. It seems he has surrounded himself with pitbulls in a circus that thrives on rumour, lack of fact checking and character assassination. To each their own!

——————————————————————————————————————

Mary Rizzo:

Actually, I think I owe Salem News a big thank you! Your continual interest in the work of PTT and now http://www.wewritewhatwelike.com has brought new readers and I imagine that people’s interests have been piqued, so along with the renewed exposure of an older article, we have gotten a slew of supportive letters and compliments for our efforts. Some of them are also from those who believed the whole “persona” of Ken and who have felt severely taken for a ride by him and demand accountability. So, keep it up, you are helping keep this information in the spotlight!

——————————————————————————————————————–

Christina Baseos:

@ M. Dennis Paul

Yes, you are correct about the inverted quotes. It was a typing error for which I apologize.

With regards to the contents of your reply, I would like to raise some points, since, with all due respect, it contains numerous legalisms.

Myself being a shipping professional, I am very familiar with the concepts of arbitration/mediation and the proceedings. In fact the arbitration/mediation clause recommended by BIMCO is an integral part in all contracts drafted. (https://www.bimco.org/Chartering/BIMCO%20Clauses/Dispute_Resolution_Clauses.aspx)

Moreover, the arbitration awards published are always carefully studied by the shipping community in order for various principles to be adopted and for possible future conflicts to be avoided.

Therefore, you are barking up the wrong tree.

You say that it’s not your responsibility to address any claims against Ken at this point. I would highly appreciate if you could advise why you feel like having the responsibility of addressing any claims against Mary, at this point.

Furthermore, you say that the omission of the term “alleged” is what makes Mary a biased journalist. May I ask if you have made any attempt to personally contact Mary Rizzo in order to verify whether she does indeed have evidence in her hands that support her writings?

And just for the sake of good order, Mary Rizzo could not have used the term “alleged” for an action that she clearly states never happened. Mary writes there was no kidnapping whatsoever based on evidence. So, maybe it would be better for you to address your concerns for the lack of the term “alleged” to the person and/or entity, who actually claim that a kidnapping existed in the first place and up to this date the burden of proof still lies with them.

Frankly speaking, I find your proposal of creating an organization, which will establish a code of conduct and will set up mediation proceedings for the resolution of possible disputes BETWEEN THE MEMBERS OF THE ORGANIZATION, quite interesting. Surely it will help in putting an order to the chaos that prevails the activists movement.

I honestly hope that your proposal will be lent a favorable ear by the “major players” within the movement. Assuming that such an organization has been established, membership conditions and dispute rules have been set-up, what makes you think that Ken O’Keefe, as an individual or as a representative of one of his own companies will be accepted within the organization?

Someone who offers his services as an arbitrator/mediator for the resolution of a dispute, requires first and foremost mutual acceptance by the opponents. When a possible future arbitrator publicly writes his thoughts and opinions (or comments on the merits of the case), either against or in favour of one of the involved opponents, before all information and evidence having been made available to him by both parties, then this action immediately constitutes grounds for his exclusion from the position of becoming the arbitrator of the case. Can you imagine a judge making comments publicly or writing articles about a case prior to the verdict?

You say “In the case where an organization is involved, this outcome is, most often, necessarily biased in favor of the organization’s operation, needs and success.”.

I second that, however given the prerequisite that justice and truth are fundamental principles of the organization and that these values will be served no matter what. Without this prerequisite both justice & truth are at risk of being sacrificed in the name of the organization’s scopes, widely known also as “cover-up”.

As if there is anything that Ken has or has not done that seriously affects the movement, from the second that there is a significant number of people doubting his actions (and this is not about majority) by raising questions, then it’s imperative for answers to be given. Depending on the answers provided, then you, me, anyone will be able to come to a conclusion of whether he has “seriously” harmed the movement or not. For the time being, he is creating “splitting” with his own actions by avoiding to give answers.

To conclude, you claim that “What she has written, and the manner with which it was written joined with the fact that it was offered publicly has harmed the movement and the Palestinians”.

What is it that you imply here? That one should only praise a movement and the actions taken by its members when everything goes fine & works out properly and successfully, but when there are mishandlings , failures & fiascos to remain silent, not make them public, ignore them and act as if nothing has ever happened and just keep on with our lives?

I fail to understand why one who makes serious allegations and accusations of penal nature, in public, is not considered as harm to the Palestinian movement, while at the same time when one of the movement’s own members is being publicly criticized about his actions and code of conduct, this is considered as harm to the movement.

The lack of criticism and silence in perpetuity are what actually cause harm, not only to the Palestinian movement but to any movement. Lack of transparency is what discourages people from joining movements. And last but not least, it takes a lot of courage and most importantly integrity to be ready, willing and able to stand up and point out mistakes made by your own people, but, fortunately or unfortunately, this is the only way that will ensure that Truth will always prevail and co-exist with Justice & Peace.

N.B: Please allow me a comment of personal nature. When someone, who writes an article and comments on a dispute between two parties, chooses to embellish it with a picture of one of the two involved parties showed in a ceremony, then he is at great risk of being accused of indulging in cheap marketing tricks and his objectivity and equal treatment become questionable.

Lemmings who question nothing by Hari Pebbles

WAKE UP by Hari Pebbles

TJP meeting by A.B.

despite claims of lack of freedom of movement and lack of safety with denial of life vests, images don’t tell lies

We will set up all the old PTT content, including commentary from almost 3 years of the site, but in the meantime, since the Ken O’Keefe debate has re-opened in a dramatic way, many have asked for the complete content of our dossier from last year. Here are all the comments, some contain vitally important  information that people are seeking so as to have a clear idea of the persons involved. Unlike the sites that created articles to attack PTT and me personally for this report, every comment was allowed, positive, negative and each person was allowed to weigh in their thoughts. 9 months later, and there still has not been a single piece of evidence to beat down anything presented in the dossier. To read the dossier, see:

171 Responses »
1. Miri on December 6th, 2010 at 23:44:
Excellent investigative journalism, Mary Rizzo. I thank you.
2. eileen fleming on December 6th, 2010 at 23:50:
Admirable job at data gathering and I will not dispute any of it -except what I know from personal experiences.
RE: “and as recently as September 2010 he was doing a self-promotional tour in the USA, in which he was travelling on his US passport, where activists had said part of these meetings involved money being collected for his “expenses”.”
I was on the road for 13 days with Ken, his mom, Bonnie and Tim King. My impression of him is here and I stand by my story-which BTW was published first @ Salem-News.com:
Every Tattoo Tells a Story and Expresses the True Ken O’Keefe
http://wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1861&Itemid=238
3. eileen fleming on December 6th, 2010 at 23:54:
RE: “money being collected for his “expenses”
Ken NEVER asked for a dime-it was up to the coordinator of the event to pass a hat or not and Ken turned that money over to fill up the gas tank on the van and we all slept on the floors of activists who opened their homes to us.
4. Tim King on December 7th, 2010 at 5:03:
Mary, As a person who always appreciates your work and speaks highly of Palestine Think Tank, I have to bring attention to statements in this article about Ken O’Keefe and his roles in the Road to Hope Convoy and the Mavi Marmara incident that are absolutely not possible or true.
The description of Ken as a dangerous swaggering menace to other people is serious hogwash. Sorry, that is the case, and anyone who watches him in person or through video sees the person I describe, rather than the person created for this piece. And why drag his family into it? That is really sad to me, and you apparently find my interview of his mom what, humorous? Some people are lucky enough to have a living mom, and Ken’s as awesome of a lady as one could find. Kudos to him for having the support of his family.
And by the way, if I don’t deserve more than to be called “former embedded journalist in imperialist wars in the Middle East, another ex-Marine” after the years of endlessly publishing thousands of stories advocating for the freedom of Palestine, heading the only news group in the US that does so, with 80 active writers, then I honestly can’t see this as anything more than an extremely extensive hit piece on my good friend Ken. Do you regard Alan Sabrosky this way? How about Gordon Duff? They are both former Marines too and Vietnam Vets at that. How about Jeff Gates? He is an Army Vietnam Veteran; Is Gilad Atzmon forever screwed in this circle because he once served in the IDF? He is my brother and he is Ken’s brother; funny how some of the most published writers in this regard are veterans, I personally see it as a strong point.
In no way can I reason this. You are in this piece, either specifically making a false statement about Ken’s role on the Mavi Marmara (approximately paragraph 65) by stating:
“How come the IHH report of the raid does not mention his name and its accounts of the disarming of weapons does not match his own in any way? How come no one has come forward to state that they were the brother who had assisted in his heroic deed? Why does the number of Israelis he managed to disarm levitate (in Salem-News, this week we find out it was not two but three)?”
When I in fact produced a video report with Canadian Kevin Niesh and Ken titled “The Ugly Details of Israel’s Gaza Siege & Attack Against the Mavi Marmara (VIDEO)” http://www.salem-news.com/articles/october052010/tour-okeefe-tk.php
And for the record, I looked at a letter from IHH today inviting Ken to an event based on his role on the Mavi Marmara. I am increasingly shocked at this piece and I see a real distraction to the efforts at hand to help the Palestinian people. I see an ego war. I see jealousy. I see fear.
Ken is far more of an entity in the world when it comes to the freedom of Palestine than almost any other active figure. That I fear, is what this is about. You write hundreds of paragraphs that are all about numbers and semantics. A shorter piece might have gone further, and that matters because there is valid information in this article and you are a good writer who I have always liked and supported. But the point is to bring Ken down and I know it isn’t going to work. I know you believe many things that color your perception of this; things that have been related to you; but I am telling you as a personal friend of Ken’s who recently spent three weeks with him on a speaking tour of the US and Canada, that he is highly mischaracterized in this piece.
However I fear that plenty of people who fear the change Ken represents are cheering. I am getting the idea that there is no flexibility with Greta, I am sad about that as I completely support her efforts and respect her work. I hope in the future that the road to hope can be a bit smoother. Thank you for posting this; it will be published in a more expanded form on Salem-News.com also.
5. Mary Rizzo on December 7th, 2010 at 8:11:
Yes, Tim, I wonder myself why all these EX vets (Semper Fidelis) are all of a sudden making a lot of statements and assuming a key position in the activism world for Palestine. I really do wonder about that. I think other people might have the same feeling.
That you have personal affection and affinity is fine and good, and if you want to let that blind you to evidence and facts, then go on. If you think it’s legitimate to pimp oneself as something one is not (an EX US citizen), and call himself a “Survivor” when I have never heard others in the Mavi Marmara refer to themselves this way, and I know a few of them, nor have I heard Gazans call themselves “Operation Cast Lead Survivors”, well… it makes one wonder.
Why all the personal pimping? For some personal interests such as a Business that is for “FREE trade with Gaza?!”
But leaving aside all the motivations, all the contradictions, what do you think about all the false alarms of calling what was done on the Strofades IV a KIDNAPPING when all the facts show it was indeed nothing of the sort, and more than that, the “Crazy” Captain avoided a major international diplomatic crisis AND saved ALL of them from being arrested in Libya. WHY DID KEN AND COMPANY REFUSE TO GET OFF THAT SHIP AND GO BACK TO LIBYA?????
Why did the “Gaza Ten” refuse to be taken back to the port when only 500 metres from it? Why did the captain contact every possible authority, including the Libyan ones, and seek on two further occasions to fully cooperate with Libya for an amicable resolution to reunite the Convoy Ten with their companions?
Just ask yourself a few questions, Tim, and let the Military Loyalty question to the side for now. Just Ask.
6. Mary Rizzo on December 7th, 2010 at 8:13:
Eileen, I know Ken (this time) did not ask for money directly. He was talking about his future investment project, of course, and someone else passed the hat for him. I asked persons there and they told me someone else did the actual collection. Often, this is how it works. It is very tacky for the speaker to ask for it on his own, I am sure this can be agreed upon..
And, I still think it’s extremely weird that we have videos also of Ken’s Mom. I thought it was a joke or a parody at first, but it’s serious hagiography.
7. pam on December 7th, 2010 at 9:26:
a man who has done a grave disservice to the cause, a man for whom glory and personal sacrifice are his bywords, a man who no right seeking activist should go near, a fantasist, a liar, a fraudster, I do hope he gets his 3 bedroom house because I sure am going to hole up there in comfort in London. Thanks Mary, an in depth study of a megalomaniac narcissistic gung ho ex marine who has done untold damage to all convoys, he has to be stopped in his zionist tracks as soon as possible
8. Mary Rizzo on December 7th, 2010 at 11:01:
Tim, let’s talk, journo to journo, as you seemingly are not allowing my comments on your extended commentary to this article.
1) you are absolutely right. It is FAR too long. However, it is long for two valid reasons. 1) we had weeks of tweets, articles, videos, posts AD NAUSEAM of this information, the information was building up and as of this point, PTT never wrote on it (and would not have if all the contradictions did not jump violently out);
2) Ken himself told me to look into his past, his actions, and this is what I did. I do not use “hearsay” on him, but mostly his own admissions in his many autobiographies.
You claim that the mention of the Dishonourable Discharge for Steroids use is some slander picked up in chats? Nope. I got it directly from Ken’s site, his own personal autobiography. I did not mention the 11,000 bench warrant or the DUI or any other facts he himself mentions, just the relevant part about him not “quitting” the Marines, but being booted out for steroids use.
I also wonder why, during all of the events unfolding, you publish something like RTH Covoyers Held at Gunpoint… when you know it is untrue. Or at least… a JOURNALIST worth his salt checks for verification! All you had to do was wait a few hours and your sole source would have provided you with the denial!
Just as, why don’t you question the matter of there being NO contract, THUS: NO KIDNAPPING because the owner DID NOT WANT or authorise them on the boat, WHICH THEY BOARDED ILLEGALLY.
That not being enough, why not check about why they are withholding the information about REFUSING TO BE RETURNED TO LIBYA the moment they were outside the port, 500 meters away!!! Why are THEY refusing to admit it? It’s all in the registered and recorded information of the radio contact.
Why are you not disturbed by them wanting to involve warships with civilian sea affairs? How can you think this is acceptable? I wonder as an activist and as a journalist, why this did not disturb you? Is Ken’s personal view on things so predominant in your thinking that even common sense you can throw out?
Do you not believe that there was a dustup for NOTHING; only to get more attention and MONEY????
One starts to look at the contradictions, the very weird things, and why there are only a few who have worked closely with him, (not ex Mils defending the category or people who promoted his “Ken O’Keefe” tour) so adamantly against him? Did you see the Journeyman film? Where the Iraqi Human Shields totally go against him because he turns into an unreasonable dictator who even expects a convoy of persons to bend to his will and his FIRST priority once he rejoins them is TO RE-ESTABLISH HIS LEADERSHIP?
Yes, I took Ken’s advice and started looking. It might be a major diversion, but if he is doing all of this to get many to GIVE to him, and NOT to Gazans and Palestinians, it might all be worth it.
And as I said to Ken, I don’t give A DAMN who I piss off with my research. I keep a lot in, actually. But if people want to remain blinded that’s up to them. I am not one of them. I will never abide manipulators and don’t give a TOSS if people are offended.
You can call it jealousy, though that is because of your lack of any other argument! You pull in a personal one because I have touched someone who has been using you. (unless you don’t mind and you too build up some kind of rep.)
PTT never asked for money, never asked for followers or even for people to approve. Like Steve Biko said, “I write what I like”.
that’s what we do.
9. Woody on December 7th, 2010 at 12:12:
I think that the claims regarding renouncing US citizenship and calling himself a “survivor” aren’t such a big deal. This guy could be a great activist and still have major personal problems. In fact, I expect most people who have faced some serious violence in Palestine to have some erratic behavior coupled with paranoia.
Honestly, my impression of this whole debate has been that there is poor organizational structure in this movement. When there is no real democratic decision making, then accountability is all but lost. Responsibility can be taken by those who are the loudest and most imposing – it’s no mistake then that Ken has been loud and imposing. Mary, you’re losing, unfortunately. You’re writing an article attempting to “expose”, but I think a lot of people will respond with suspicion – just like your “side” responds with suspicion to Ken’s attempts to steam-roll and expose. I’m sorry, but where did you all learn activist organization? This whole thing sounds more like run-of-the-mill bourgeois political deal-making, rather than a movement for justice. You sounds like congress aides and attack-pundits fighting a public-relations battle. Is there no organization that everyone can sit down to and make their case? Is there no structure in place by which to proceed and evaluate decision making, without a schism that hurts Palestinians?
I see a mess with this Libya situation, but it’s unclear what else could be done? There clearly is no accountability in the structure of this movement. In its absence, what do people expect Ken to have done? I get the impression that at the time decisions were being made without full information – perhaps even complex decision-making that isn’t as straightforward as most are used to (and/or crazy paranoid decision making as well). This is only because the organization clearly lacks decision making capacity and organizational respect enough to reign in individualistic decision making. Ken clearly respects himself, not the organization, but if the organization and its members are respectable, then how will you ever accomplish anything as a group?
Who cares what the personal motivations of certain people are. I get it that there is some subtextual criticism by Mary of both men and military men. Fine – probably deserved. However, you all start to sound idiotic when you start up with your accusations of Zionism, or personal vendetta, etc. I would try to engage all the parties based on their stated intents/interests (i.e. to help Gaza) in an open forum – otherwise to take the attack/defend approach merely solidifies the “Ken Movement” and on the other side is “Don’t like Ken” movement. The options are pretty O’Keefe-centric, which is never a good thing.
10. Mary Rizzo on December 7th, 2010 at 12:46:
Woody, if it doesn’t seem wrong for someone to deliberately lie to others to gain their trust, esteem and money, then I suppose I can’t do anything about that. I think it’s a complete abuse of the goodwill of people who are actually wanting to keep the cause on the forefront, based exclusively on facts, truth, honesty.
If you don’t think it’s wrong that a guy whose “slogan” starts with “Truth” to lie and to twist the truth so that he can manipulate other activists is wrong, again, I can’t convince you. Maybe he ought to change his slogan “My Truth…” and then we wait a few hours for the opposite information to get out.
I have a problem with people abusing the sacred cause of Palestine for personal gain, be it money, fame, attention, sex. All of these things are easily obtained by activists, and to some it is the powerful motivator.
The personalisation of the cause at the expense of Palestinians in favour of those who are in categories historically NOT helpful to the Palestinians, Israelis, Mils (ex or current), Westerners, Neo-Cons, racists, et al, is stuff that ultimately draws the scarse waters to another well. At the expense of those who are the victims.
That Ken’s accounts are one long litany of his own heroism and victimhood is YES tiring and annoying and damaging to the seriousness of the cause.
I would have completely ignored this person who I see as an inflated ego with some really stupid ideas (how can you have a commercial “resistance” ship?) and WHY interfere against the true nature of calls by Hamas itself? What can this possibly achieve??? But the manipulation of the convoy, the manipulation of all of us could not go uncommented. To have us become the clowns of the world because one loose cannon decides he will accuse others of serious crimes – KNOWING it is false could not go uncommented on, and YES; exposing liars, gatekeepers and those who manipulate the decency of others MUST be done. I said it before, I have suspicions about Ex mils… many many suspicions, and good reason as well.
11. MB on December 7th, 2010 at 13:27:
Mary, I wish you’d made your article far far shorter — most of us do not have the time to read it, and most of us support Ken, so it really seems like we should be aware of what you say, whether we fully accept, agree, or not.
Can you briefly tell us what the main ‘charges’ against Ken are? You may say,”read it yourself’, but sorry, it is so so so SO long and intricate. I’d love to read it , but I ( and I am sure many many others ) do not have the time to wade through what looks as complex as a legal document.
I’d appreciate it — and value it — if you could bullet point the main ‘charges.’
With thanks,
M.B.
12. Mary Rizzo on December 7th, 2010 at 13:40:
MB, you are absolutely right… after over 10 hours of video clips (and I had to stop because it was just getting to be overload), hundreds of articles, including about 6 Ken Autobiographies, 15 articles all about him as a person and various and sundry articles numbering about 50 times the content of this paper, keeping it to this length was almost a struggle. It could have been longer, just to address some of the issues raised. And Yes … no one, myself included has the time or interest for the information overload, but I subjected myself to it, so that I could be as objective and complete as possible. I don’t believe in putting out press releases as a journalistic practice. Those things are bulletin board instruments, and what should be done is to look at an issue and.. think out of the box even if it makes it uncomfortable.
That someone personalises things so much I found to be “useful” to his ends, but then, he has to stand up to the promise, no?
I will work on bulleting a version in the coming days. Taking a writing break, as I really need to concentrate on something other than Ken’s ego! However, yes, I think the entire thing is worthwhile reading if you want to be truly informed and not satisfied with nodding heads and going along with things because that’s were the wind blows.
13. eileen fleming on December 7th, 2010 at 14:08:
As the wind blows so must this dialogue for only the truth will set us free.
The truth is that Ken is a force of nature and one either loves or does not love Ken.
Please let us remember that divide and conquer is the empires oldest trick.
Please let us “check the egos at the door” so that we maintain FOCUS on the Illegal OCCUPATION of Palestine, the Siege of Gaza, and as Ken said many times during my 13 days on the road with him in Sept. 2010 during his speaking engagement:
“Our greatest responsibility is to hand over a better world to all children, and the 800,000 children in Gaza, are my children. I would rather die in pursuit of justice than back down. How can anyone accept the unacceptable!”
14. Mary Rizzo on December 7th, 2010 at 14:32:
Eileen, that is right; ONLY the truth will set anyone free and the quantity of LIES we were subjected to by Ken (ones his fans repeat over and over, but it is just a LIE, about not being a US citizen) staggers the mind. Have you got NO input to say about the LIES made against the ship people, who (not a minor detail) are already involved with transport between “the world” and El Arish?
Check Egos at the DOOR, (Ken says that?! when there are a million of his own articles and videos with HIM as the central icon). He goes to Gaza, and what we see is HIM?
Go on and believe the la-di-da feelgood sentiment stuff, that’s what traps them all in to GIVE and then keep on giving!
I realise it is hard for one to see their “hero” be shown for what he is, a manipulator, but the truth will set one free if one allows it in. Waking up is hard, but once one is there, they refuse to be sleepy sheep.
15. Mary Rizzo on December 7th, 2010 at 14:36:
And all I can say is, the moment he starts banging that tin cup for donations to the most costly defence activists have yet had to endure (given the as per Greek Law, they determine the entity of the offences and are obligated to proceed, despite everything, and the violations were incredibly great – not taking into account the libel and various other things against the shipping company – which is another court case all together) I HOPE people will realise this is NOT for Gaza and is instead for ONE GUY’S EGO!!
16. Mary Rizzo on December 7th, 2010 at 14:42:
ah, NOW I get it Eileen, he says check your egos at the door so his can take up all the available space. He could have used his chance of being a public figure better, more wisely. Could have learned the names of the martyrs, could have even thought for a moment that their deaths were not “worth it”, though for him they must be, it’s kind of flippant to say when he’s still got a beating heart.
17. A convoyer on December 7th, 2010 at 14:51:
The use of references and quotes to lend legitimacy is depressing. There is much here that is utter nonsense. Your sources are things like Facebook upon which you yourself cast doubt. You even quote yourself (regarding the ship). Certainly, the vast majority of convoy members (of which I was one) have not been consulted about this misinformation you have published. It appears to be, in essence, an attack on Ken. I don’t seek to defend him as such, but I regret your desire to make it all about him.
18. eileen fleming on December 7th, 2010 at 14:54:
Dear Mary!
Thank you for the laugh: “I realise it is hard for one to see their “hero” be shown for what he is, a manipulator, but the truth will set one free if one allows it in. Waking up is hard, but once one is there, they refuse to be sleepy sheep.”
I have met many of my heroes, and they ALL are regular human beings with their strengths, flaws, good and not so pleasing aspects.
I call them all either secular or religious prophets-and by prophet I mean one who points out danger and provokes those so inclined to at least think about God.
Ken is a prophet to us, a deeply spiritual man, loving husband and father. I also spent much time with his mother and learned about his childhood. I hope to one day help Ken write his bio for he is of This Generation and his story, struggles, defeats and successes will inspire generations to come.
Another one of my imperfect righteously angry heroes is Mordechai Vanunu, who Wake me Up to US and Israeli Nuclear collusion/deceptions:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bslmk5jipGA
I wonder why is The PTT has been so silent about the denial of Vanunu’s Human Rights in light of the fact that he has been awarded the 2010 Carl von Ossietzky Medal and an International campaign was launched in September to get him to Berlin by 12.12.10 to receive it:
http://wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1840&Itemid=237
19. Sam on December 7th, 2010 at 15:03:
Mary,
I was part of the R2H convoy and I can assure you that you have got your facts regarding Strofades IV incident very wrong. The truth will set us free indeed and when it all comes out I hope you will be big enough to apologise for your vicious attack on Ken.
We all saw your personal insults and childish name calling on Facebook while we were in transit to Gaza. A quick google search on your reveals that this is not your first time attacking members of the movement and you seem to have quite a reputation as a toxic character.
With people like you in the movement, who needs Zionists!
20. ibrahim turner on December 7th, 2010 at 16:19:
Regarding the request for a shorter version I think that you are correct – that a short bullet treatment would have given those who are perhaps short of time or too lazy to really get to grips with what went on – whether for Ken’s ego or against – an excuse to come to a flippant decision.
It also seems to me that to call someone a Zionist for going against one’s opinions or views is the other side of the coin that has been used to extensively ad nauseum by the Israelis and Neoconservatives and Holocaust Industry types.
Lets not fall into that trap of shooting the messenger and ignoring the message.
Just look what is happening to Wikileaks at the moment to both mainstream and alternative media focusing on the rape accusation and people calling for his assassination with nary a mention of the
content (much) of the cables.
Best
Ibrahim
21. Mary Rizzo on December 7th, 2010 at 16:38:
Convoyer and Sam, which information and facts are wrong, please do inform me. I have about 500 printed pages of stuff here, as I copied out everything from your tweets and articles coming from any of you, so I have the information YOU released. I then got the “pre-contract” agreement from Ken, and a lot of the email exchanges between London and the broker, so that is all your material. I would be happy to hear the specific things that are not facts. I’d sent the message to the RTH board and to individuals and got a response from several, using their testimony. I also did the deed of listening to the other side, and it is apparent that Ken violated that ship, and then accused the owner of kidnapping him and others. He refused to be collected at 500 meters (all of this is in recordings, so when your court case comes out, unfortunately, the goodwill of the owner will be evident).
Yes, I do have a reputation of slamming persons who use the cause of the Palestinian people for manipulative, deceptive or personal gain, some were just gatekeepers who wanted to keep the discourse in their own area of interest, be it to avoid mentioning the Lobby, to bring it to a class struggle or whatever, and others far more dangerous, as they attempt to create culture clash by making it a “religious issue” or who make more than one cent off of it, get popularity or any other perks, and worst of all, who determine that they are going to be the ones who must set the discourse for the Palestinians to follow. They aren’t going to get liberated by you or me, they are going to get their with their own unstoppable power as soon as they are allowed to operate full force and without constraint by you, me or anyone.
If you do not approve of my tactics, of my disgust at finding manipulators in our movement, persons who are damaging “the nonexistent movement” because they are involved in lies and deception and they accuse anyone who disagrees with them as Zionists, CIA, Mossad, MI6 and on and on… then that’s fine. I don’t expect everyone to approve, as many do prefer that all that contributes is good, even it if’s wearing a KKK hood or accusing innocent people of crimes. All does not justify the ends, but this is my opinion.
Point out the inaccuracies, and I will gladly rectify them.
If it looks as if it is a character assassination that I point out that Ken pimps a big lie about himself, he should have thought about it first. Honesty is important if you are MISTER TRUTH.
22. Jaime Antecol on December 7th, 2010 at 16:52:
Thank you Mary for an amazing article, prepared with great care and integrity.
I’m interested in the legal aftermath of this misadventure. Perhaps you can enlighten us just a bit further.
1) Is there an action underway by the shipping company suing RTH or O’Keefe for libel or other damages for the alleged misinformation that hit the world media?
2) Any criminal or other charges pending, such as for the Mayday-type emergency calls to passing ships?
3) Who vetted and/or appointed Mr. O. to “lead” the expedition, and also who ordered the 100 or so convoy people to prepare toboard the Strofades IV assuming there was prior knowledge that perhaps only 30 people could potentially board?
23. Blaine Coleman on December 7th, 2010 at 17:11:
Hi Mary,
I hope that people will consider a much cheaper way to get a lot of publicity against the violent, racist apartheid state which calls itself “Israel”.
For $0, you can gather a crowd (even a crowd of one), sign up to speak at your City Council about “Boycott Israel”. Then you just march in there and ask for a resolution to boycott all products from Israel. There is a t least one reporter at every City Concil meeting, so you get free publicity.
Also for $0, you can do the same at your university student government. You just ask for a resolution to boycott all products from Israel.
Simple. And very cheap. Lots of free publicity is available on every campus. They have newspapers there, sitting at every student government meeting.
Palestine human rights advocacy can be very easy and cheap.
The only hard part is understanding that Israel is exactly like Apartheid South Africa — and treating it the same way, with loud public boycotts. Apartheid South Africa was abolished because of the African people doing everything they could to resist it, and because of international boycott campaigns. “Dialogue” and “reconciliation” and “coexistence” did not get Apartheid South Africa abolished.
“Israel” is in the process of being abolished, because the people of Palestine are doing everything they can to oppose it, and because of the movement for boycott and divestment ( http://dearbornboycottsisrael.blogspot.com/ )
– Imagine if that Boycott-Israel movement had some real conviction in its voice! Palestine would be freed in no time.
Whoever can afford these heartbreakingly expensive Gaza freedom flotillas, and who can do the paper work to protect the people on board, and who can get enough media on board to protect themselves from the Israeli military — wonderful.
But the great bulk of us can do a lot for no money at all.
Again, just push your own boycott resolutions where you can be heard.
24. Robin on December 7th, 2010 at 17:31:
Jaime Antecol:
“1) Is there an action underway by the shipping company suing RTH or O’Keefe for libel or other damages for the alleged misinformation that hit the world media?”
http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_2_16/11/2010_121195
SHIP DISPUTE
Owner and captain of vessel embroiled in aid row are freed
The owner and captain of a Greek cargo ship that became embroiled in a row with activists who wanted to transport humanitarian aid to Gaza last week were released yesterday after testifying before an Athens prosecutor on charges that they abducted the campaigners. According to sources, the prosecutor disagreed with the investigating magistrate appointed to probe the affair. The activists claim they had struck a deal and were brought to Piraeus against their will. The owner and captain of the Strofades IV insist that the foreign activists, mostly Britons, tried to seize control of the vessel while it was docked at the Libyan port of Derna with the aim of forcing the captain to go to Gaza. The shipowner is suing the activists
*****************************
Yes the ship owner is suing the activists.
25. Jay Knott on December 7th, 2010 at 18:17:
The basic facts support Mary and Palestine Think Tank. Claiming to be kidnapped at gunpoint while doing live blogging by cellphone defies belief.
The Atlantic is a cultural divide. Palestine solidarity in the USA is quite unlike in Western Europe. Yes, it’s about motherhood and apple pie. And ex-marines. And their mothers. I react the same way as Mary, but I keep it to myself. Palestine solidarity in the USA will not be a primarily left-wing movement. European secular leftist Palestine activists have learned to moderate their criticisms of Islamic culture; you have to pretend to respect American culture too.
26. Project Humanbeingsfirst.org on December 7th, 2010 at 18:25:
[ Emailed letter. Submitting here as an after-thought – perhaps it is of interest to readers here as well. ]
Subject: Zahir’s response to Mary at PTT: Ken O’Keefe, Road to Hope and a Kidnapping that Wasn’t
From Project Humanbeingsfirst.org
Date: Tue, Dec 7, 2010 at 9:47 AM
To: mary
Cc: “Salem-News.com newsroom”
Dear Mary
Hello.
I hope you are well. I would briefly like to respond to your letter which arrived in my emailbox this morning directing me to your article on PTT. Please note that I am cc’ing Tim at Salem-news.com (and I hope Tim might forward this letter to Ken) for reasons which are apparent below.
First, please permit me to state the following very matter of factly: I am unwilling to criticise an individual who willingly puts himself under the following life-threatening situation unless I have done the same first:
“Despite this entire event being completely peaceful on our end, Israelis shot at us and bullets whizzed by within feet of us. You can clearly hear one bullet whizz by myself (Ken O’Keefe) and several others in my area.” — pacificfreepress.com/news/1/7508-getting-shot-at-in-beit-hanoun.html
I speed-read your missive at PTT with interest Mary, and I applaud your courage to speak your mind on this. I didn’t read it entirely because I saw some issues in your article which I address in this letter. But I begin with a personal note by saying that I wish I had that much courage as you Mary to so openly critique my own Muslim brethren for our common failings with such candor. The fear of being used as a ‘native informant’ for the purpose of acquiring more cultural competance over us is a great moderator for me. This is why I greatly admire courageous Jews who stand up to Israel, and courageous Christians who stand up to the tyrannies and failings of their own. And they do have a tad less to fear of the same issues that I have to constantly grapple with when taking on our ‘House Negroes’ and the silent apathy of our peoples, as being from the ‘untermensch’ civilization bearing the full brunt of the uber criminals and brilliant hectoring hegemons from among the so called ‘judeo-christian’ civilization waging an incessant cultural as well as physical war upon us, I don’t wish to be victimized twice.
Thus, I greatly admire and am most envious of the courage of ISMs and their opportunities to exercise their un-inhibitions boldly and to the fullest, even if there may be room for improvement in their modus operandi and in their conceptualization of the problem domain which ab initio creates mis-calculations on their solution-spaces, thus leaving the struggle for Palestine entirely without efficacy in no less a measure than the Palestinains’ own futile attempts.
Who is more to blame?
The co-opted and out-witted Palestinians themselves like the ones in Diasopora waging a ‘safe’ weekend jihad from the comforts of their living rooms, or those not among them but who courageously come to the rescue of those beleagured on ground Zero directly braving a bullet to their brains, and fail?
I have critiqued that entire concept of the largely symbolic, inefficacious and vaccuous dissent against the Jewish State, and you have previously published some of my writings which carry such critiques, as for instance this article which had once been published on PTT: print-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2009/11/rescuing-thestruggle-for-palestine.html And at other times, you have simply refused to publish other critiques because as you have explained, you will never criticize that individual as he has done so much for the Palestinian peoples. So you had declined the following submission which took on the most visible and respectable Palestinian in diaspora for his own unforgivable errors of omission which I feel are the ‘highest order bit’ of the matter in even having any hopes of success for reclaiming Israel-Palestine from the clutches of Zionism: print-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2010/04/resp-abusitta-rothschild-not-zabara.html That of course is your choice as PTT is your soap-box. You make value decisions on what is good dissent, and what is bad dissent. What is appropriate and what isn’t. That is just a factual statement, not an indictment, to highlight the fact that there is a great deal of subjectivity involved here. Right?
Having said all that to get it out of the way so that my following statements have a complete context, here is the short meat of this letter.
Mary, you have certainly identified some real tactical problems. And I would like to see a broader discussion of them without necessarily putting down the courageous peoples who bodly stand up for moral priniciples by putting their own lives on the line. The genuine rebel is a rare breed indeed, too few in numbers, too week in power, and too caught up in their emotional responses to have a real ‘Mens et Manus’ – ‘mind and hand’ – engineering efficacy in an interlinked multivariate domain of oppression so vast, and dominated by powers so elusive, that he and she is unable to see the invisible “iron wall” which protects the many visible effects from being rectified. My little Pamphlet on Palestine ( humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/p/pamphlet-how-to-return-to-palestine.html ) has analyzed that in some depth, and you had published one or two of its trilogy of essays at one time as I recall. My latest article examines the rebel and is equally applicable to the ISMs, and to Ken O’Keefe et. al:
Of Ostriches and Rebels on The Hard Road to World Order
print-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2010/12/of-ostriches-and-rebels-zahirebrahim.html
I invite my comrade Tim at Salem News to pick up this topic that my comrade Mary has tried to courageously highlight, and as a more detached journalist, perhaps put some forensic spotlight on the issues raised, primarily of activists becoming more important than the activism for which they started, due to at times because of the very nature of the high-visibilty modus operandi they employ.
There is no way in hell, and justifiably so, that Rachel Corrie’s singular murder under the Israeli D-9 Caterpillar bulldozer would not get more spotlight than the many Palestinians’ daily slaughter and murder of small children. Rachel Corrie herself wrote about it in her letters. And this is also the case here. And as Rachel put it (paraphrasing as her letters are not here with me, but I do possess a hardcopy which was distributed at a funeral event in Berkeley where my family was the only Muslim family in attendance), her hope was that because of her white skin, blue passport, etc., that the spotlight would be drawn back upon the Palestinians. That hasn’t happened to the degree that Rachel Corrie and the Palestinians would have wanted, obviously – but that is not the failing of Rachel Corrie. It is our combined failure.
Thank you.
With best wishes,
Zahir Ebrahim
Project Humanbeingsfirst.org
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: mary
Date: Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 11:43 PM
Subject: Ken O’Keefe, Road to Hope and a Kidnapping that Wasn’t
To:
palestinethinktank.com/2010/12/06/truth-justice-and-peace-nearly-sunk-as-rth-convoy-facts-emerge-and-as-usual-gazans-get-the-worst-part-of-the-deal/
What we have, dear readers, is a lesson and we better be ready to learn it or risk it being repeated. We witness an act to be condemned, yes. This is the conclusion. There is no excuse for this turn of events and it is clear that what happened was never in the interests of Palestinians, but it involved the Pro-Palestinian community in a way that they could not subtract themselves from. In the midst of all the contradictions of those releasing statements and emergency messages, in the presence of all the outright lies causing distress to the loved ones of those involved, totally ignoring the actual purpose of the convoy and putting the spotlight onto themselves and not on Gaza, we see the situation clearly. Having spared no effort to draw the world’s attention to themselves and promoting their “media image”, spreading panic in the media and provoking diplomatic irritation between six countries, all of this in the name of GAZA, a few persons changed the course of a legitimate and ethical effort to relieve Gaza and change the situation for the better, and this is nothing less than scandalous. We were manipulated, the facts withheld or distorted and urged to “SPREAD” “EMERGENCY NEWS” and to contact every possible embassy, consulate, diplomatic authority, ministry, Members of the EU Parliament, the European Commission, the Press, even to organise Demonstrations for the “Gaza Ten”. Rather than depending upon precise logistics, including chartering the air travel for the over 50 persons who would NOT board the ship that fateful night, thus leaving them in constant state of emergency actions, as they were suddenly left to figure out how to get to Gaza, though the aid was eventually carried on another ship, we see calls to divert money into the travel of activists, and star activists get the priority and special private accounts urged to be donated to publicly.
All of this, solely due to an incident caused by the irresponsibility of a few. Dragging more and more people into a power game and using political propaganda, censorship, gatekeeping, lies and insinuation and all of this, for the sake of a few people, and none of it to do with GAZA!
– ### –
27. Miri on December 7th, 2010 at 18:43:
Does this become any more ridiculous than complaining about this thoroughly researched and well-documented piece of investigative journalism, while showing no evidence to counter it?
Why not go to one of the man’s very sites, yourselves? For instance, if anyone can break away from a busy schedule to click on http://worldcitizen.uk.net/ , one can see the ad to INVEST in this pipe dream of a flotilla (King Tatt’s going to invite Hugo, yeah!) one must hit on the DONATE button which takes one to “Ken O’Keefe’s Stolen Property Fund” via Paypal.
Does it get any clearer to the sycophants among us?
Let me also try to find O’Con’s own description of getting battered, several years ago, which is strikingly familiar to his battering at the hands of the Israeli commando executioners (it also seems odd that he was the only one battered. The others were executed or shot multiple times)…
O’Keefe said: “I was beaten and put in shackles and then had my head
bashed into the wall which caused a concussion and brusing. I
responded by saying to him, ‘makes you feel big does it, little man?’
He retaliated by pulling out his penis.”
http://uruguay.indymedia.org/news/2004/06/26331.php (the only thing missing is the phallus).
PS I am unable to post any comments to Salem News.
28. Samantha Daher on December 7th, 2010 at 18:47:
Obviously I don’t know anyhting about what happened to the RTH convoy, but neither do YOU, Mary, this is all hearsay from other activists who have a history of personal self aggradizement as well, most of whom also had no personal part in whatever happened in Libya and Egypt.
To publish such an analysis without taking the time to hear the ‘other side’ is beyond all standards of respnsible journlaism.
This is nothing more than a hit piece on behalf of one set of activists, not an objective journalistic report.
29. Miri on December 7th, 2010 at 18:52:
Oh, and here is another interesting acknowledgement of one of O’Keefe’s frauds: Though he constantly yaks on and on about ‘renouncing’ his US citizenship, and he’s got youtube videos of passport burningS, he traveled to the US this fall, on his US passport:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/alexrafa1/2010/10/22/talk-with-bonnie-king-on-her-experience-with-ken-o
…which for some reason sent Bonnie into a fit of giggles, during this important interview on what it was ‘like’ to be with Ken when he and his mommy had their reunion (right up there with the importance of his tattoos, ‘each telling a different story…’).
30. Alice Martensson on December 7th, 2010 at 20:04:
Mary: no doubt you will have heard of sleepers. I have long suspected you but now you have given me confirmation. It’s clear to me that you have made it your principal aim to sow discord and sedition within the Palestine solidarity movement. Well, you have failed because, whoever is paying you, have chosen a dunce. You’re so transparent. Go back to Tel Aviv. Tell them you couldn’t quite manage the job because others saw right through you.
Shame on you, damn lunatic!
31. Mary Rizzo on December 7th, 2010 at 20:06:
which “other side” Samantha?
I have looked at about 20 or 30 videos by or about Ken. I have taken about 50 various dispatches and tweets and urgent messages sent by RTH and RTH supporters, and you see them here. I have read the 60 or so articles about the “Kidnapping”, I have had an exchange with Ken that you can see in the footnotes, he REFUSED to do an interview,,,, know why??? Because in his view, also asking the Boat side what they had to say was being in Kahoots with Zionists!
So, what is a journo to do? Just post whatever comes her way, even if it is a LIE and then later publish the opposite of that and expect the public to take us seriously when we keep on crying wolf?
Miri, Tim won’t allow my comments either, and is even spreading a lie that I am censoring comments HERE. They have all been published. Same can’t be said for Salem-News!
Nor are their journalistic skills that great if they can’t even figure out that this is NOT an Italian site, though I am Italian. I think they don’t know what fact checking is, they are too busy grovelling to heroes with military pasts.
32. Mary Rizzo on December 7th, 2010 at 20:13:
Blaine, excellent point! Zahar, thanks for your point of view but read the entire article before arriving at a conclusion. If you believe that someone is beyond criticism if he is in Gaza when he actually has endangered every effort in future in favour of Gaza due to the current mess involving his recklessness and the story he invented about being kidnapped, expecting everyone to believe it, well, I disagree.
Jay, I too never got that whole thing about if someone has been trained by the most militarist units of the US war business, that they are better spokesmen for human rights and Justice. I don’t think so.
I also can’t believe they don’t understand the enormous humour of doing a journalistic report on an activist’s mum. I don’t know if you read the comments in the Indymedia link in the article, where we actually see someone who KNEW ken and mum, and didn’t have the same shining opinions. But If they want me to leave Ken’s mum out of it, they should be the first to do so, or accept that some of us think this is the height of ridiculousness.
Great White Hero’s Mum is an up and coming category. I am sure she loves her son and he can do no wrong.
The guy has an odd concept of TRUTH.
33. Karen Nakamura on December 7th, 2010 at 20:51:
Mary…
I’m passing this on to my fellow reporters at coastalpost.com, brought down by pro-Israelis. We also had an ex-soldier type try to take over. The staff backed the owner/editor. He also tried to delay/close it for months and ended up losing our archives… He does, however, do excellent work on other projects.
I know nothing about Ken and his group. There are always painful schisms among the sincere ranks.
However, the issue of agent provocateur has rightfully been raised. Vigilance must always be maintained.
An agent provocateur led a New Orleans flood relief NGO and discovered setting up youngsters to do violent acts. Someone may be able to enlighten us…
In the days of the Black Panther Party, provocateurs pushed tactics that divided people and caused dangerous acts not approved by the base.
Leader Cinque of the SLA and Patricia Hearst fame was discovered after his death to have been an agent for the LA police department and possibly the FBI.
In this scenario it’s not imprudent to consider the youthful anarchists in Seattle being lead by agents. Their actions certainly diverted the message.
That’s why Ghandi and King’s principles are the only way we’ll make it as a movement. This is a marathon not a sprint.
And you’re correct. The movement has worked out boundaries with reasonable officialdom from San Quentin Prison to the borders of Egypt. They won’t bash in our heads if we don’t break the rules of good conduct and complete the paperwork… Anyone who has ever been at a meeting with “The Authorities” understands the importance of trust for those we wish to help. With trust, they’re far more likely to grant permission and let medicine get to the hospitals. If they think you’re a loose canon, they’ll treat you and your organization the same way. This does NOT mean capitulation just using diplomatic finesse.
We need universal questions to ask during these situations. Is it a difference of opinion or an action harmful to our primary purpose? Is it a needless suicide achieving nothing but depleting and dividing our unity or it is fraught with success or futility? As one respondent said, is the action built on a solid foundation or based in egotistic misplaced heroism?
Keep questioning,
Karen Nakamura
34. Mary Rizzo on December 7th, 2010 at 20:53:
Alice, point out the parts where someone saw through me? What parts of this OBJECTIVE report are facts that are wrong. Like I said, totally glad to be wrong if someone can come up with where.
Was there a contract? NO.
Was there a kidnapping? NO.
Is Ken promoting himself as something he is not and lying to do it? Unfortunately yes.
If you can accept that, and accept that people are supposed to look the other way cuz despite the havoc he wreaked with the other movements and the reputation he has for accusing anyone who disagrees with him as being paid by Tel Aviv, just like you are doing now, his work has been accomplished!
We need all the dictators we can get!
We need lies and people to manipulate us to spreading falsities and rumour and even falling for THE BIG show where there were no facts to substantiate the lies.
Look at the photos… they contradict the claims made!
Look listen to the contradictions all over his videos, and tell me who is causing PROBLEMS in the MOVEMENT.
that Ken has been able to get people to finance his adventures is credit to his talent. I admire that, It’s great for him and he is successful in it.
That he was unable to understand WHAT the point of the convoy was, WHAT the damage is in having the media twisted one way and then another, of even attempting to get us to start a dispute with Egypt, Libya, Greece, well, it’s not what I am in activism for. It’s not my job to shift the focus, that is what false flag operators do.
So, come out with the things there that are wrong…. or show us a contract, or tell us it’s great the we have been bleating like sheep for days LIES so that activists can all be tarred with the LIAR paintbrush..
I said it before, and I will say it once more, I could care LESS when people decide to smear me as if I am being paid by Zionists, because I know for sure I am not, and know for SURE people in the movement have very iffy connections and still keep some really grotesque secrets to protect their public image.
As long as they are just doing their shit for their own personal gain; i try to ignore it. Sooner or later someone braver will come out and point out how inconsistent it is. Instead, if they propose themselves as the liberator of the Palestinian people, and they do not even fully endorse the Right of Return, but instead some weirdo plan of sharing… if they are lining their pockets with donations that could instead go directly to Palestinians, then, THEY are offending the just cause, not me.
However, go on with your name calling.
Maybe one of you will have some FACT to contradict… I’ll be patient.
Oh, by the way, tomorrow is a holiday here, PTT comments will be CLOSED.. If you don’t see your comment, never fear, it’s waiting to be moderated.
why do we moderate? because of spam robots and hate posts set in under the names of others which, checking the IPs, we can see it’s abuse.
So, be patient, and I do sincerely ask anyone to come out with something better than the generic bs of you are splitting the movement, you must be a zionist crap.
Come up with arguments to counter the evidence. That would help defend your man.
35. Project Humanbeingsfirst.org on December 7th, 2010 at 21:26:
Hello.
Mary, my name is not “Zahar,”. It is Zahir – thanks in advance for spelling it correctly in the future.
If your only response to my carefully worded letter is this two sentences:
“Zahar, thanks for your point of view but read the entire article before arriving at a conclusion. If you believe that someone is beyond criticism if he is in Gaza when he actually has endangered every effort in future in favour of Gaza due to the current mess involving his recklessness and the story he invented about being kidnapped, expecting everyone to believe it, well, I disagree.”,
it is reflective of the only reason why I neither read PTT, nor submit any articles. PTT is your private website and has little to do with anything else. Sorry. The only reason I wrote you a carefully worded letter and posted it here as comment is because of your unsolicited email which landed in my mailbox. Otherwise I haven’t visited here for many months and I don’t care to read anything here – but I am sure a lot of it is most valuable – all filtered through you particular biases and subjectivity.
I have no further time to spend on your personal opinions. Your work is admirable – for it takes courage to go against the grain – but so is other peoples. And unless you can stand there with bullets buzzing by your head, I am so very un-interested in your expert assessment of those who are in that position. Please let me know if you actually were in that position, or were a member of this journey, describe to me what risks you took under what circumstances, and then I’ll read you opinion further.
Those who criticise others in such matters, in my view, have only legitimacy to do so if they have taken the same/similar risks and understand what it takes to take such risks. This is a lesson I learnt from my prof. Noam Chomsky – and before I could, in good conscience, critique him publicly as in my essay “Endless trail of red herrings” for instance, I took the same risks and far greater ones than he claimed he had taken with his own physical protests during the Vietnam War.
When I challenged some Palestinians’ sacred god, and evidently yours too, the good Dr. Salman Abu Sitta for his omissions, which you rejected as disclosed in my letter, it was only after I had written about those very omissions myself and taken the risks inherrent in going where no one here on PPT ever goes. At one time I had searched on PTT for the word “Rothschild” and the only essays and comments on the pertinent topic were mine. There was only one other hit, and it was a reference to that name in only an irrelevent ancient context.
In that vein, I’ll critique Mr. Ken, a person whom I have never met nor ever communicated with (but I have communicated with salem-news editor Tim who happens to be his colleague and who occasionally publishes my essays) once I have found myself in a similar precarious situation as he found himself and became familiar with the realtime decision making under such a condition and errors of hindsight inherrent in it.
Since I apply that standard to myself first, I also apply it to others. And if I might err on that standard, perhaps someone will remind me of it – no one is perfect.
Zahir Ebrahim.
Project Humanbeingsfirst.org
36. Mary Rizzo on December 7th, 2010 at 21:32:
on Tim King’s site, in case he doesn’t publish it
Tim, first of all, I do hope you address my other comments, but meantime:
1) the site is not Italian. I think that fact checking on everything is always good practice, especially on titles.
2) So, it honestly does not bother you that the you yourself have printed things that ultimately are untrue? EX: the article about the abusive “Greek Commandos” ->they were coast guard, and not commandos, they did not threaten anyone’s lives nor hold anyone at gunpoint. This was your writing, your journalism. If you think apoligising is in order, why not start there and start to sort through all the contradictory and false information around, and come to some conclusions. You might not like what you see, but you are ultimately responsible if our whole category (activists/independent journalists, in my case totally un-financed by anyone) is taken as jokers. Then the accusations of me being an agent are brilliant, there is not a penny in any account anywhere from anyone for my writing on Palestine, which, were I an agent for Israel, I think they might have lots of problems with my article on (for instance) Hamas, which has been translated in quite a few languages and the PLC themselves wrote me a letter to thank me for my work not only in providing an article that was objective about them, but for also opening once again the issue of the unfairly detained PLC members on TV and after many months, finally having some of them released). I just want to know how that would fit in with the image painted of me as an agent for Zionism. They would have a problem with all of our material on PTT.
and yes, I was critical of George Galloway. Is that a crime too? I also recognise when he does things RIGHT, as is clear in my recent report on VP5.
About Egypt, I support Arab unity. I am against the Egyptian regime, and very supportive of the Egyptian people, so any attempts made to smash the Arab unity, to punish the Egyptian people, ESPECIALLY since they are part of the solution to the problem, much more than any of us are, and also because I learned from Meshaal that NO WAY is it acceptable to shift the blame to others. It is Israel to blame, to unite against and defeat. If you don’t like that concept, you might have to discuss this on the various Hamas forums or with those in the movement, because this is their policy, and this is our policy. We do not want to put Egypt under the boot and we do not approve of Western activists doing this. It is against our belief in the strength of Arab unity.
Then again, to accuse those who think out of the box and expose the manipulations within our own ranks of the worst possible evil, well, this is how people who are afraid of the complexities of reality react: they create a lie about someone who disagrees with them and then they feel their job has been done.
I have no idea if Tim or Ken are just careless or do not see the bigger picture. If their co-militant loyalty blocks out their other reasoning capacities, and if they have tolerance for lies.
I sometimes let white lies slide by and do not even comment. Indeed, the lies and inconsistencies all over things I just ignored, it didn’t seem to make that much difference and, “so what!” If people want a hero that they can praise, let them fulfil that need.
The moment however, we were DEMANDED to ACT, to do this and that and to even start to circulate things that could only be lies.. my patience ran out. I am not the only one. And I do not like to see innocent people accused of such terrible crimes as kidnapping, which makes ALL of us look like IDIOTS.
So, Ken gets caught in his mess and I am the bad guy. This is how it works! It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last…
but be careful if you love Palestine, because if you are not loving truth and standing only by truth the lies will come back and damage you, and ultimately, the cause you support.
37. Mary Rizzo on December 7th, 2010 at 21:55:
Zahir, sorry, busy day, I guess you can comprehend that a typo can slide in, as well as me not being able or willing at this time to read your article on rebels, though i have read both of your comments here.
I don’t think it really bothers me that you stop reading this site, I stopped reading yours too! I don’t know… you can feel that you need to have your publishing demands met, when even on one occasion you know quite well, I was very ill, spent 4 hours formatting one of your pieces, and got one of your classic “ungrateful” notes in return. I try to please, but I have limits like anyone and YES:.. PTT is here for Salman Abu Sitta to write what he likes and YES; he is one of the most important influences in my life for his non-stop dedication and his kindness, so NO, I am not going to post a piece that attacks him!
It’s my right, as you point out. As well, you also have views on Iran that you are sure you know better than Iranians and so on and so forth. You are a very intelligent person, it’s clear, but your criteria for viewing the world is in a very narrow lens, and this is why on a site like this, where we are unpaid, dedicating the spare moments of freetime to promoting as much as possible the voice of the Palestinian and its intricate variety, we don’t please everyone and never will.
As well, you assume someone is above criticism because he places himself in harm’s way. Perhaps. Perhaps not.
I can say that we got to hear about HIM, and yet, events of this sort and much worse even happens EVERY day to Palestinians, constantly, and why are we not so interested and why are they not our heroes? I know why, maybe you do too. So, I don’t feed that kind of stuff. I don’t feel it is necessary to continue in the western exceptionalism stuff, and as a matter of fact, if you haven’t finished reading, how can you possibly be able to comment? At least you admitted to it, but I would not comment on an article I was not fully familiar with. I won’t send you emailings either! I had various emailing lists and recently asked everyone to cancel out who did not want on… 3 out of 600 cancelled, and you weren’t there, so I left you on.
Lastly, you ask if I’ve ever been in front of a bullet or where they fly. No. I am very lucky, I have not. Though I have been stalked, have been the recipient of violence and threats of violence and I have to deal every day practically with some of the worst types of insult, abuse, sexism, discrimination and psychological pressure. I have given enormous amounts of money and time to Palestinians and the cause, and to individuals in the cause, translating, editing, publishing, circulating, doing subtitles, promoting and getting paperwork for visas and such… so I don’t believe I am only drawing water to my own well. I dedicate most of my efforts to others’ rights to expression, and have given willingly time to others in the West who support Palestine that i could have used for my own work, interests, etc. I don’t think I really have to stand in front of a bullet to earn my right to speak my mind on Palestine or things involving it. I pay my price for it. I have had some of my best friends and family break off and consider me a “traitor” and have had levels of emotional blackmail used on me quite frequently. I have been subject of smears and even now, I allow others to insult me. I too am probably never going to be allowed in my country of birth for some of my writing, and this is painful. I am not like some “ex-pats” who fake their distance.. I am literally decades away from my homeland, and may never see loved ones again. So, go on and make your considerations, I know the sacrifices it takes, and I also go against the grain if i need to, knowing it brings on even “hatred” from “my side”.
Having this is not pleasant, and I could probably avoid it all by just doing nothing and sitting on my hands. So I leave it up to my own conscience as to Placing myself in harm’s way.
38. Miri on December 8th, 2010 at 3:32:
Zahir, I somehow missed your comment about people on the ground putting their lives at risk. I am wondering if you mention this because of O’Keefe’s recent claims to have been shot AT during his self-interview (no Gazans, again?) as he was pushing along his video camera.
The ITF was no more targetting him to be shot, than they were targetting me, when a shock grenade went whizzing over my head in Bil’in, in 2006 (unlike the intentional murder of Baseem Abu Rahme, via rapid cannister cum projectile, the shooting in the eye of Matan Cohen, the shooting in the legs of Adeeb Abu Rahme, the shooting in the head of Limor Goldstein).
Being in an area where bullets are always flying does not give one permission to be a liar and a thief.
Some of you folk here, are braying like hypocritical yahoos, who seem not to want to look at the facts. Perhaps that makes you as much frauds as he…
39. Eric Verlo on December 8th, 2010 at 6:16:
Unfortunately I am all to familiar with the internal dissension spread by the Mary Rizzo types within social justice efforts. It is a pettiness borne of being rubbed the wrong way by larger than life personalities like Ken. Very often significant social endeavor depends on abrasive leadership, but small participants like Mary can’t abide stepping aside. Humor her right to criticize whoever she likes, but to advance the cause at better than a squabbling pace it’s vital that counter-revolutionaries like Mary are exposed and ignored.
40. David Evans on December 8th, 2010 at 9:06:
Ships docking at Al Arish will never break the seige. Ken O’Keefe knows this.
41. Tweets that mention Palestine Think Tank » Analysis Israel Newswire Palestine Somoud: Arab Voices of Resistance » Truth Justice and Peace nearly sunk as RTH convoy facts emerge, and as usual, Gazans get the worst part of the deal — Topsy.com on December 8th, 2010 at 12:06:
[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Yannis Koutsomitis, Iraq Solidarity News. Iraq Solidarity News said: Truth Justice and Peace nearly sunk as RTH convoy facts emerge http://t.co/aTuQstm #Palestine #Israel #Gaza #Solidarity #UK […]
42. Karen Nakamura on December 9th, 2010 at 0:02:
Yo Folks!!
The kids are listening…
That’s the children of Gaza who are cold tonight without adequate food ’cause we’re missing ways to get food to them by fighting among ourselves. A shake-out of ideas is always good. However, organizations fall as much from internal squabbles as from outside forces. The children need us too much to not apply conflict resolution.
We need universally acceptable guideposts during conflicts. Everyone has to agree to certain modes of behavior and accept they will not be supported if they step out of line. Won’t engage in conflict resolution? You’re out. Hold the attitude that It’s My Way or the Highway? Bye.
Democratically appointed authority and rules must be established and followed. Ambitious types can work their way up the chain of command so they understand nuances. Just like anywhere, cream rises to the top. They don’t need to bully their way in the door.
Political take-overs are dangerous and cause chaos even if done with sincerity. Starting one in front of armed officials and the media is not the time. The daily/weekly meetings are the time to settle problems.
Watch anyone talking violence or displaying too aggressive a nature. This game is too heavy for huff and bluff, however sincere.
What will be the outcome of any action taken five minutes/hours/days/months after it happens? Were babies bombed in retaliation? Or did we deliver clean water filters to schools?
How will what we do further our good name and the cause of freedom for Palestine?
The world is deciding the case. They must trust our actions as logical, honest and good-hearted. Like they came to trust the organic food movement as being there for them.
We are The Who to the world’s Horton. We need to yell in harmony and in unison.
43. Maryam S on December 9th, 2010 at 5:34:
How can anyone claim to have a serious interest in the cause of Palestine without being willing to examine the actions of a self-promoted, self-proclaimed hero such as Ken O’Keefe?
How can you not be concerned that his past includes serious discord and irrational acts allegedly committed by him in other activist projects?
How can you not be concerned that he was in charge of a convoy whose members seem to have committed a crime – boarded a ship that was not chartered, refusing to disembark, and then accusing the ship’s captain of kidnapping?
How can you not be concerned at his money-raising practices?
Don’t you see how these questions cast doubts on all of us, threaten our credibility as a movement?
For heaven’s sake, it’s not about this Ken O’Keefe, it’s about Palestine, and how we can best work for the liberation of Palestine. This guy comes across as a pathetic narcissist, and every day I see it gets worse and worse. Aren’t any of you sycophants concerned that your hero worship may not be healthy?
44. Mary Rizzo on December 9th, 2010 at 8:34:
just in case Tim King decides not to post my comment, here it is:
Tim, For Anna O’Leary to lament that I am “unsavoury” (as opposed to sweet) and was “uncouth” to her, while at the same time accusing me of being AIPAC/Israel payroll and then listing a series of “character” sins she ascribes to me such as jealous or ego driven speaks more than volumes about who is uncouth or unsavoury. I would like her to present a crumb of evidence of the sort, let her research me and find something before she libels me like this. Take into consideration, others who have done so have had to publicly apologise, but meantime, they make the fools of themselves.
And Anna making the fool of herself has been more than adequately demonstrated by the posts she had pushed for everyone to circulate full of total and complete lies. You have nothing to say about the accuracy of the report, the contradictions don’t seem to affect you? The questions I asked you about the seeking of KEN to get warships of other nations involved on foreign soil? None of this seems to even phase you at all?
Perhaps it is the military mentality that I just can’t get my mind wrapped around. I honestly do not want ex mils determining the discourse for Palestinians. I simply can’t handle that much. Forgive me for this major flaw of mine, but history is replete with them coming into liberation causes and driving the local leaders out and imposing their own techniques. It is always a very negative thing.
Once more, if Ken was contacting you, great, he was feeding you all kinds of lies just like the Gunpoint one that he later fed you the opposite, upon reflection, no one would believe too much at the end of the day…
I don’t care about his temperament. I care about the lying, distortion and misleading discourse. What have you got to say about him travelling on a US passport while concomitantly declaring he’s an Ex-US citizen? I mean, one need NOT dig any deeper than the obvious. When I dug, upon his recommendation, I had the confirmation that he was not a person who has a consistent narrative and at the same time, makes reckless actions and accuses others of things such as affiliation with services.
It is ludicrous.
Meantime, he bangs that tin cup for his personal reasons. (His big investment project, his travels, next will be his products to sell, who knows? I hope he branded TJP so that he can get more dough that way!
Tim, you have been taken for a big ride, and your lack of even doing any kind of due diligence proves that this site is little more than a bulletin board for your own friends. A true journalist (which I am not, I’m just an amateur) would attempt to know the truth, not hide it or paint it differently.
One day you may become aware of your part in the libel and in the lie. I hope it won’t cost you too much.
Ken says that he does not worry about the negative things said about him, as they are “par for the course”. But at the same time, he is begging for everyone to put their comments on PTT and to also copy them onto his FB page. I think he’s a wee bit concerned. Why does he not participate? Because he knows the Truth and knows that his declarations could be perjury if testimony is used from his declarations freely made.
why else would he not declare anything to the Greek police?
45. Mary Rizzo on December 9th, 2010 at 8:35:
Karen, thank you… that’s the whole point!
46. Joanna on December 9th, 2010 at 10:27:
If any of these accusations were true, it would be a scandalous tragedy.
As they are not true, a vicious, scandalous tragedy has been created.
Perhaps the witnesses can learn to bear their pain with a measure of
the dignity demonstrated by the Real victims of our inhumanity…
who deserve more from us than this..
47. Mary Rizzo on December 9th, 2010 at 10:58:
It IS a scandalous tragedy. Face these FACTS
1) there was NO contract.
2) K o’K and K Turner refused to leave the vessel
3) obstruction was placed on the vessel to prevent it from leaving
4) the vessel had written port clearance to leave absent of cargo
5) once the ship was leaving, Ken admitted OTHERS jumped on board.
Does this make a kidnapping?
keep on going:
6) the Master calls the Libyan port authorities, while still in 0.3 NM from the port entrance (500 metres) to have the 10 activists and the Libyan officers brought to the dock. Ken and the activists REFUSED (all of this is on recorded tapes that the port authorities and the shippers have) and thus, the Libyan officers did not want to abandon the ship to 10 persons who ADMITTED (by their leader’s own mouth, and on his OWN video): We could have taken over the ship if we wanted. We did not do it, but we could have managed.
7) the Master informed all the relevant authorities of the incident, and did all he could to maintain the incident in amicable terms, to ensure safety of the entire ship and everyone aboard. His actions SAVED KEN O’KEEFE AND THE OTHER 9 from being taken to Libya, arrested and detained, as was the intention of Libya! While they could NOT do this on foreign soil, and the Master knew that, he followed the instructions given by the authorities to proceed and render the situation as safe for all possible.
8) Ken denied food, water, life vests, complains of mistreatment, confinement, sleep deprivation and more… all of this TOTALLY EXPOSED IN HIS OWN PHOTOS!
9) Ken O’Keefe “commandeered” a VHF and made an SOS which violates maritime law and is extremely grave in the world he had at that moment joined, (the seafaring one) and does this help the Flotillas?
These are just SOME of the scandalous things. If you find anything to refute ANY of those things, as always, freely share them, as I have attempted to be as objective and to allow all parties the chance to present all their evidence. Ken refused once he understood that I was also going to interview those he accuses.
If someone refuses, and then tells me to trust him since he is so upright, then to look into his activism, I did just that. Contradictions emerge like a landslide, as well as other things that are totally unacceptable, such as his ideas to propose the “charter” that no Palestinian could accept!
He also has been collecting money, asking for free flats (3BR no less and “better than a squat”…. He has his needs, you see.)
48. Christina on December 9th, 2010 at 11:06:
If one reads the whole article, he will realize that, apart from the writer’s opinions stated with regards to Ken O’Keefe, that the article refers to a specific incident that took place about a month ago in Libya. An incident associated with a specific humanitarian organization (Road to Hope), which organized a convoy to deliver aid to Gaza.
The incident is actually the reason this article was written in the first place.
The writer has conducted a research, gathered data from parties directly involved in this incident, outlined the facts in chronological order, posed specific questions about this incident and left to the readers to analyze/examine/cross-check the facts, find the answers to the questions and decide whether the contents of this article, as far as it concerns the Libya incident, are true or not.
Upon reading an article, it’s up to the reader to decide whether this article is an objective one, stating the actual facts and whether it enlightens the reader (whether he is directly or indirectly involved with it), who wants to learn more about an incident that took place somewhere in the world.
There are 30+ comments under this article from different people (comments by the article’s writer not included).
There is not one comment actually dealing with the facts outlined about the incident.
There isn’t a comment posing any questions or stating any opinion of whether the actions of the main involved parties were right or wrong, true or false.
All comments have been made by people not directly involved to this incident, and while everyone’s right to freedom of speech is highly appreciated, it would be interesting to also read comments that actually deal with the facts of the case and not with the writer’s personal opinions about a person.
And if these parties feel that commenting about the actual incident under an article is not the proper place to do so, then maybe they could inform all readers where they should direct themselves in order to read an official statement issued with regards to the Libya incident that outlines their official position.
49. Mary Rizzo on December 9th, 2010 at 12:20:
Christina, part of the problem is that in those who believe that only truth will set “all of us” free, the denial of truth and the defense of lies has taken on the form of their activism. Ken’s done it, his “cult of personality” has been capable of allowing them to totally seek to disregard facts and evidence and to continue to sustain a lie and a manipulation, because their “friend” or “hero” told them that’s the way it is.
The problems of “unity” seem to worry them more than problems that are dangerous to us as activists who are on record as accepting a lie, (a series of lies), as well as all the damage to this mission and the future ones.
My hope is that if RTH is as serious as they would like us to believe, they distance themselves from what the “new” leader has done, to save their org, and to salvage themselves when the moment of legal accountability starts.
Again, I would like to see ONE fact refuted here, instead of people engaging in the classic “throw any libel at them” tactic of accusing me of being Israeli paid or AIPAC paid.
Let me see the evidence and the facts. That Ken has been caught out on so many contradictions and even has shot himself in the foot by admitting to being aboard the ship against the ship-owner’s orders, I wonder how he can justify any of it. But then again we’re supposed to believe he ain’t no American… when he admittedly travels on his US passport!
50. Christina on December 9th, 2010 at 13:35:
A well-established Humanitarian organization dealing with the noble cause of mitigating the suffering & pain of oppressed people that go through an unspeakable ordeal, which first respects itself and second and foremost respects all people involved in accomplishing their projects, either by donating money or by voluntarily taking part in the convoys, should rise to the occasion.
Road to Hope has not done so yet, but it should be just a matter of time for their donators and supporters to finally receive true information with regards to the incident that took place in Libya and to receive answers, supported with documented evidence, that clarifies RTH’s position in this case.
51. Ellie Merton on December 9th, 2010 at 16:41:
Hi Mary
I was Road to Hope’s London Liaison during the recent convoy.
A link to your report has been posted onto my Facebook page, and I have been asked by various people not actually involved in the recent Road to Hope convoy to contact you because they are worried you have not contacted me at all and, as a result, you have taken a dangerous liberty to drag me through the mill of your inaccurate investigation, thus potentially undermining the work of other Palestine support organisations I have links with. As you can imagine, none of us are entirely comfortable with this situation.
To help you contact me, I have sent you a Facebook message.
In the meantime my main concern is your failing to contact me directly prior to quoting me in your report in several places is a basic journalistic oversight. It is also quite peculiar, given the fact a quick read of the official R2H press statements and a very simplistic search on Google for “Ellie Merton” will show you that I was the main R2H press contact for all the rest of the world’s media, and it gives all my contact details. I don’t really understand why the press releases and my contact details were good enough base-points for a vast swathe of the world’s media (large and small), but not for PTT.
In terms of what the worldwide media reported, the three articles that made the most fictional statements, gross inaccuracies and disregarded the verifiable truth that was offered to them with back-up source material were: 1) CNN website 2) BBC News website, and 3) Reuters.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Ellie
52. Mary Rizzo on December 9th, 2010 at 17:44:
Ellie Merton, on the site where I have taken the direct quotes from you, the public ROAD TO HOPE Facebook page, I had left on several occasions the OPEN CALL to have anyone at all who wished to be involved TO CONTACT me. Since you were one of the main protagonists on that board, I had naturally ASSUMED that you were seeing all the posts contacted. It was not only in comments, but also a direct post all of its own. I was contacted by some persons and the leader of the RTH convoy, Ken O’Keefe, I directly contacted, since he had not been on the RTH facebook page.
I have printed YOUR press statements.
I have printed YOUR own written communications.
If your complaint is that you were not contacted, I am sorry to say, so many in FB and persons actually in the convoy were aware, since I place the request directly on that page.
Seeing as well, that you “passed your role” to another person, I can hardly understand your complaint.
Now, onto serious matters. Where are the innaccuracies in this report? Be specific.
I have DIRECTLY QUOTED YOUR PRESS STATEMENTS. This was direct wording released by your own hand, so I hardly would be taking such an issue if I were you. Were your press statements accurate? Did they reflect facts?
53. Mary Rizzo on December 9th, 2010 at 18:49:
The RTH page and my message. NOTE THE DATE! Mary Rizzo Palestine Think Tank will make comprehensive analysis / full account of Road To Hope convoy incident. Those who wish to be interviewed or contribute their testimony, contact us. (more in comments).
14 November at 23:51
54. LanceThruster on December 10th, 2010 at 0:34:
As one who on separate unrelated occasions has written glowingly of or to Mary Rizzo, Tim King, and Ken O’Keefe I would like to put in my $.02.
The piece I saw initially where Mary indicated Ken seemed to be somewhat cagey in regards to a request for an interview raised a few alarm bells for me. You would think that someone who has written pieces elsewhere as Ken has, taken part in actions meant to move along the quest for justice for Palestinians, and is often seen in a role as de facto spokesperson for the movement would not be hesitant to take part in an interview by another activist for Palestinian justice. Ken has even addressed those wishing to challenge his version of events.
(see: http://www.counterpunch.org/okeefe06072010.html – “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.”)
I consider Mary Rizzo a critic of merit.
I consider written open discourse on public internet forums and blogs a very large stage indeed.
Finally, in the years I have seen Mary write, post, reply, moderate, address complaints, etc., almost singlehandedly while still trying to juggle her full-time job, her health and family, the various threats, bullying, personal smears, harassment, legal claims, and the like…she has done so with remarkable humility and extraordinary tenacity. I have seen her own up to errors on her part however slight while still maintaining a composure based on doing her homework. I have seen the amount she bends over backwards to allow even clearly recognizable trolls to have their say before deleting or banning them, as while such choices can be subjective, she won’t let that be an excuse to let someone else hijack the discussion to the detriment of the cause.
I have seen in this particular fracas that Mary seems willing to address any detractors head on while the object of her scrutiny is largely absent (if not entirely).
This is the type of courage and dedication I have come to expect from Mary and will continue to do so. I will also be glad to examine any further statements, revelations, and counterpoints by others should they be willing to step into the ring and go the full distance and not just the oh-so-typical hit-and-run attacks.
Keep fighting the good fight, Mary.
55. Mary Rizzo on December 10th, 2010 at 10:38:
Thanks Lance. I appreciate your 2 cents, because you are one who follows the media and discourse attentively and with the necessary critical eye and free mind.
About the Hit-and-Run attacks, this is the level that Ken, who tells his fans to “ignore it” so as not to feed it, is spending time digging up what he considers smear articles about PTT. Too bad that he does not know the context, and too bad that rather than actually face the issue involving himself, he’s trying to smear me, thinking this is the correct tactic. However, a few will follow him, even going so far as to say PTT has lost the plot since it started to condemn Hamas. As you know, PTT is one of the very rare sites that has published in-depth pieces about Hamas that (wonder of wonders) even Hamas has complimented for the objectivity and efforts made to eliminate any kind of falsities. So, it just proves that the critics don’t know what they are talking about and that the smear bandwagon always picks up new passengers!
You have correctly noticed the total avoidance of the arguments that would in some way defend the position taken. It was not a kidnapping, and the evidence is all there. So, we are supposed to just keep on believing a big lie and manipulating truth because one person thinks it’s the way to go?
It would be so easy to
1) show us the charter contract (but since it does not exist…well, it’s not easy)
2) show us the vesting of broker document (required in chartering by means of broker…. but that doesn’t exist either!)
3) show that the “Ten” were taken forcibly onto the vessel (and the opposite is shown in Ken’s own videos)
4) refute the claim that they did not refuse to be brought immediately to Libyan shores, and the recordings on the ship prove that they refused.
5) explain how come the pre-contract agreement only included 30 passengers and yet there was no contingency made for the movement of the other 70 or so persons.
6) explain why we have contradictions about
a) a speedboat and furious escape of a captain
b) being held at gunpoint by Greek “commandos”
c) not being given lifejackets and being confined.
and many more inconsistencies, too numerous to even mention.
7) to account for why all of a sudden money was supposed to be sent to Ken for his needs and not directly to the convoyers who were “stranded” and in dire straits, as per their own admission.
8) explain how an ex-USA citizen gets to travel on a US passport and not only in 2004 when he got a new one in Italy, but the one he used (by admission of this on Salem News) as far back as this September.
9) rather than be defensive that a handful (and the list was growing by the day) of persons who worked with him reported his antics as endangering the very mission, and his divide and conquer tactics on the ground of accusing those he did not like as being spies and paid by the enemy. It simply is a dirty smear that is totally unsubstantiated and the trick the enemy uses constantly.
10) if in the Journeyman video we see that at the end only a tiny fraction of persons wanted him to assume leadership, and they rather entrusted their lives to an Iraqi than to O’Keefe, Ken takes issue with the fact that his reputation as a leader (and we have seen how reckless he is “live”) is constantly challenged by those who really know him.
the tiny little word Truth should have some meaning, unless .. of course, it doesn’t.
56. Mary Rizzo on December 10th, 2010 at 16:53:
don’t miss the souvenir photos!
http://palestinethinktank.com/2010/12/10/ken-okeefes-photos-aboard-the-mv-strofades-iv/
57. Miri on December 12th, 2010 at 1:28:
Ellie, you were posting non-stop on Road To Hope’s fb page, which makes your comments public to those you, or any administrator who barred others from the page. You forwarded O’Keefe’s tweets, no matter how ridiculous or contradictory they were.
Your press releases are as much public as were King Tatt’s tweets.
I had hoped by now that R2H would have condemned his actions, distanced itself from them, and made a full acount of any and all financial transactions for what was initially an honest endeavor, transformed into the personal soap operatic drama of an adrenaline junkie.
58. Maryam S on December 12th, 2010 at 3:11:
Maybe Ellie would care to tell us why Ken refused to be interviewed for this article. I’m quite interested in that. If you were so concerned about Mary’s article, why didn’t you and Ken contribute to it? Perhaps it would have had a different outcome. Now you’ll never know.
59. Sam on December 12th, 2010 at 11:12:
Hi Maryam S,
I can answer that question. Ken refused to be interviewed by Mary Rizzo because she had the same abrasive and nasty attitude as her side kick Miri (see above comment). She and about 5 others had been attacking the R2H convoy and Ken for quite some time. As you can see from her childish name calling (King Tatt, O’Con, etc), she displays a behaviour that one would expect from a teenage girl with self esteem issues.
We were in transit to Gaza and facing significant issues (as all convoys do) and felt no need to waste our time or energy on their bitchfest.
Mary Rizzo’s ego was obviously hurt at Kens refusal to be interviewed by this glorified blogger and so took her source of information from a good friend of the captain of the Strofades IV. Hence her article is full of inaccuracies and blatant lies.
There is an internal review of the R2H convoy taking place and i’ve no doubt that all will be revealed in due course. However, the R2H convoy does not owe an explanation to Mary Rizzo or anybody else who may think they are some kind of investigative journalist.
I would advise Marry Rizzo to channel her bitterness and hatred at the enemy of the Palestinians and leave her personal vendettas out of the Free Palestine movement.
60. Christina on December 12th, 2010 at 11:19:
It was a very pleasant surprise to read a comment by someone actually involved with the ship’s incident.
From Ms. Merton’s above comment, it’s clear that she was RTH’s official liaison during the last convoy. In view of that, Ms. Merton was also the organization’s official spokesperson, at least with regards to the incident that took place in Libya. Moreover, Ms. Merton was RTH’s main press contact for the world’s media.
What should a reader presume from the above? Does the use of “past tense” in her statements imply that she no longer is RTH’s official liaison?
If Ms. Merton is no longer the organization’s spokesperson, then either her or someone else from RTH should officially inform the world of who is now RTH’s official spokesperson/liaison.
Anyhow, one has to stick with Ms. Merton’s one & only above comment, at least until otherwise informed.
Numerous comments have been made above, by quite a few persons, with regards to the accuracy or inaccuracy of the writer’s investigation and, although it is anyone’s right to question the contents of the article, none has provided any logical arguments in order to confute the facts. On the contrary, it seems that some people (including RTH’s liaison) believe that by making irrelevant nebulous comments and vague accusations that this is the way for the truth to emerge.
What is also interesting is that Ms. Merton informs the readers which three worldwide media have published the “most fictional statements”. The insertion of the word “most” implies that the rest of the worldwide media have also published “fictional statements” only these are “less” fictional than the others. Moreover, it implies that all other references made in the article are for fact “fictional”.
But leaving aside these three media for a moment, can one assume that the rest “less fictional” statements mentioned in the article include also Ms. Merton’s own statements and press releases issued with regards to the incident in Libya?
As per Ms. Merton, she has contacted the article’s writer via FB. Well done, but cannot quite figure out how a personal contact with the writer can be of help to the rest of the readers and how this will answer the various questions posed.
In any and all cases, one can only guess, since Ms. Merton had the courtesy of leaving a comment under this article, that she is really interested in reinstating the truth and is about to officially release a proper statement (if not her then whoever is RTH’s official representative now) that will deal strictly with the facts of the incident in Libya and will provide sufficient supportive documentation. This will certainly be warmly welcomed by RTH’s supporters and donators.
61. Miri on December 12th, 2010 at 11:31:
Please let me clarify : Mary Rizzo did not post this article to Ellie’s wall. did, and I asked her to please read it, and comment. Let me also again note that the Salem News would not let my comment to its piece, be posted, yet various folk around Kennykins claimed that PTT was censuring comments, here (obviously inaccurate).
62. Christina on December 12th, 2010 at 14:31:
I have seen numerous comments somehow complaining about the length of the article. It is indeed a very lengthy article but then again the truth cannot be compacted into 2 or 3 paragraphs.
However, the persons who were directly involved in this incident don’t need to read any article in order to be informed of the actual facts, because they already know the facts, they know the details of the case, they have the supportive evidence in their hands.
The “truth” is always one, therefore as many times as one may repeat it, he will never make any contradictions. The answers to any questions, no matter how the questions may be posed, will always contain the same true information, in contrast to the repetitive false and fictional facts that one may present, which is only normal when these become numerous and are continuously repeated, these untrue “facts” to start contradicting each other.
The persons directly involved in this incident can easily give straight forward answers to the following questions, because they already have knowledge of the facts:
1) Is there a written agreement/contract between RTH and the ship-owing company duly signed & sealed, containing all terms & conditions agreed with regards to the charter of the vessel? A copy of this contract should be provided
2) Are there written instructions from the ship-owners to the charterers, clearly giving them authorization & instructions to remit the freight to the charterers’ broker bank account instead of a bank account designated by the ship-owner? Provision of these written instructions should be provided
3) How much money were remitted to the RTH’s broker covering the freight? Proof of payment that clearly shows the beneficiary’s details together with the actual amount remitted should be provided. N.B The only irrevocable document that is considered as proof of payment are SWIFT copies issued by the paying banks.
4) Alleged “kidnapping”: The burden of proof always lies with the person who lays the charges, therefore the following have first to be established for the “kidnapping” charges to stand:
a) Ransom: What was the amount of ransom requested by the “kidnappers”?
b) Motive: What was the ultimate motive of the alleged “kidnappers”?
c) Benefit: What was the benefit pursued by the alleged “kidnappers”?
d) Unknown destination: Why would the alleged “kidnappers” inform the abductees, while still on board, of their destination (i.e. Greece)? Why would the alleged “kidnappers” inform all relevant Authorities after the vessel had sailed from Libya about the incident? Why would the alleged “kidnappers” have been in continuous contact with the Libyan Authorities, the Greek Ministry of Marine Affairs, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking protection and resolution? Why would the alleged “kidnappers” require from the above Authorities to immediately contact and inform the Embassies & Ministries of Foreign Affairs of all the countries involved directly or indirectly to this incident?
5) RTH claims that the monies have been safely reclaimed. How much money exactly were reclaimed? Ms. Merton claims $75.000, while Mr. O’ Keefe claims $82.500. Which of these amounts is the actual amount of monies reclaimed?
6) Who is in possession of the “reclaimed” monies? Has RTH paid with these monies the freight covering the charter of the second vessel that actually delivered the humanitarian aid from Derna/Libya to El Arish/Egypt?
Although the above questions are not the only ones that RTH has to officially answer in order for their donators & supporters to be enabled to get a clear picture of the whole incident and for the truth to be reinstated, it would be a very good start for RTH to “prove” that any opposite “allegations” are totally untrue and false.
63. Miri on December 12th, 2010 at 17:44:
Dear Sam:
Please do not confuse Mary Rizzo with me. She is a very professional, objective, investigative journalist. I am the one utilizing various nicknames. I have not attacked R2H. I have, however, frequently posted to R2H’s page to please use some evidence to back up some of the hysterical tweets that were coming through during SuperKen’s attempt to take over the Strofades IV (which transported goods, and activists, of Viva Palestina, 5, without all the pseudo drama, and the international hysteria).
Sam, you bring nothing to the table here, except name-calling. I, on the other hand, create a mosaic of facts and name-calling. Instead of being simply angry, why not post some proof that Mary Rizzo’s investigative journalist piece (with truckloads of footnotes) is wrong?
Oh, silly me! You cannot do so, because it is 100% accurate.
Sam, might you be so kind as to point yourself out in one of the several photos from King Tatt, in which he demonstrates that he nearly starved to death — having lost 15 pounds in a nanosecond — by showing the brigands — er, brigade — chomping down lots of food; in which he shows that you were all confined to very small quarters, by showing you guys all over the ship; how he proves that you were not allowed to protect yourselves with life jackets, by showing several of you wearing them (and also playing in the emergency boat, which seems to be quite an infantile — and possibly illegal — thing to do)?
Oh, silly me! again. You probably can’t…for somewhat obvious reasons…
64. Jaime on December 12th, 2010 at 17:52:
We saw above confirmation of commencement of a legal action by the shipping company against RTH and possibly the “Gaza 10.” I expect it would be for the alleged libel plus damages related to the unexpected departure and subsequent loss of income.
Is there a statement of claim available yet? This is usually a public document filed in Federal or state court.
Also shouldn’t RTH be fundraising to defend this action as well as issuing an official explanation/position concerning the incident?
Also, there should be some clarification of how cooperative the “Gaza 10” intend to be with regards to the legal investigation and examinations for discovery which are sure to follow, unless RTH and the shipping company settle out of court. Even if they do, the friends, members and supports of RTH should be made aware of this situation.
65. Christina on December 12th, 2010 at 18:32:
With regards to a comment posted above by Mr. Sam.
It is perfectly understandable that whilst you were in transit to Gaza, that you did not have the time to prepare an official statement dealing with the incident in Libya. You had to focus on the convoy and to make sure that it enters Gaza. Which you succeeded and by doing so, you gave a great deal of relief to the oppressed people of Palestine.
However, I don’t believe that anyone was or is expecting from the individual members of the convoy to reply to the questions posed,.
What is expected is from RTH’s official representatives to deal with the facts. RTH is a humanitarian organization and has given the impression that it has people appointed as its’ liaisons and/or representatives.
Of course, anyone has the right to comment and share his/her knowledge about the actual facts. No one can prevent anyone from freely commenting under an article published in the internet. But, anyone who disagrees with the contents of an article or with the intentions of the article’s writer, he/she has to provide logical arguments supported with evidence in order to be able to successfully challenge the contents of an article. Vague statements and nebulous accusations do not strengthen anyone’s position. On the contrary, they weaken their arguments.
To the best of my knowledge and from what I have read in the above article, the writer prepared an overview based on the information / data made available to her, either from individuals who accepted to answer the questions posed by the author, or from the statement published in the internet by Mr. O’Keefe. The writer prepared the article according to the information made available to her.
In any and all cases, it is expected that an organization, which depends on donations and on voluntary work from individuals, to publicly argue the facts and provide logical arguments & evidence, in order to prove that any allegations & accusations against the organization are wrong and that they do not substantiate.
With the greatest respect, allow me to disagree with your opinion that RTH does not owe an explanation to anyone. We have the following facts: a) A ship-owning company has been accused of kidnapping, b) ten members of the convoy have been accused for unlawful boarding onto a vessel and c) a writer has been accused from publishing a libel. If any of these parties (i.e the ship-owners or the ten convoy members or the writer) have been wrongfully accused for anything, then the other parties owe an apology
I repeat though that if you do have knowledge of the actual facts of this incident and you want to share it on behalf of RTH, then I’m sure that this will be warmly welcomed by everyone. I have no reason to doubt the information you have shared that RTH has initiated an internal review of the convoy. If indeed this is true, then it only shows that there must a problem with this whole case and that RTH wishes to resolve it once & for all and that the outcome of this review is just a matter of days to be made available to the public.
66. Miri on December 12th, 2010 at 19:10:
One other comment to Sam…somehow I missed your sexist remark of “bitchfest.” I have found that it is only males who suffer severe castration anxiety that attack women who have the temerity to disagree with them. It seems that honest dialogue is not permitted to our half of the species, according to you and your macho ilk.
Perhaps the puchase of a testicular cup would make you feel a tad safer…
67. Maryam S on December 12th, 2010 at 19:23:
Well, “Sam,” the only way I can personally reply to your rather overwrought accusations against Mary Rizzo is to say, information is power, it clears up a whole lot of questions, so why don’t Road to Hope, or Ken O’Keefe or Ellie Merton, step up to the plate and provide it? I followed the entire dialogue between Ken and Mary very closely while discussions were taking place regarding an interview, and I saw no sarcasm, nastiness or anything else on Mary’s part. She merely asked Ken if she could send him a list of questions to review, and he became rather uncooperative at that point, claiming he didn’t have time for that, and then he suddenly decided to withdraw his agreement to be interviewed. Period.
I also happen to know that everything Mary wrote in this article comes from well documented sources, including public statements made both by Ken and Ellie Merton, so where is the problem? Personally, I find Ken’s and Ellie’s reticence regarding any follow-up statement on Mary’s article rather alarming, doubly so because whatever comments O’Keefe has made are coming across as vindictive and hostile. He has since deleted a comment thread on his wall from 3 days ago where he was quite nasty to a woman who was asking pointed and pertinent questions he should have answered honestly but chose not to. People who are on the defensive generally come across as such – I recall Richard Nixon during Watergate – and their failure to be forthcoming in their own interest is interpreted to mean that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
I have a huge distaste for Ken O’Keefe, personally. Ever since I saw his bloodied face after the flotilla massacre, I saw a histrionic narcissist looking for attention. This is what I’m still seeing. If that’s what he wants to be, it’s fine with me, and there are always fools who are looking for a hero to admire. But what bothers me is the fact that people’s money, and the credibility of the movement to free Palestine, are in jeopardy because of the antics of a few, specifically O’Keefe. This needs to be addressed, as there are a lot of people waiting to see this mess cleared up. I will tell you another personal observation – I will NOT involve myself in any future venture whatsoever that has Ken O’keefe or R2H attached to it in any way.
68. Robin on December 12th, 2010 at 20:31:
Maryam S you wrote, “She merely asked Ken if she could send him a list of questions to review, and he became rather uncooperative at that point, claiming he didn’t have time for that, and then he suddenly decided to withdraw his agreement to be interviewed’
It was Ken who demanded the questions be submitted to him before the interview because he wanted to review them to see if he had time or the inclination to answer them. Mary Rizzo gave good reason not to do this by citing sources that this is not normal journalistic practice.
69. Sam on December 12th, 2010 at 21:57:
Hi Mary,
I’ll just give you a quick example of some of your inaccuracies and false allegations:
You say
“Why was he not called by any investigative commission by any side at all to testify, if his involvement was so important and he directly had handled Israeli commandos?”
I know for a fact that Ken gave evidence to the Turkish Justice Dept, The Turkish Police and the UN Fact Finding Mission. This is well documented. Are you disputing this? If so, were are you getting your facts from?
BTW: Ken’s evidence is consistent with the outcome of the UN Fact finding mission
@Miri: The term “bitchfest” has nothing to do with the female sex. I use the term “bitch” to describe your verbal attack and criticisms of Ken and the R2H convoy.
PS: I dont think a testicular cup would be much use to me (or any female) but don’t let that stop you from jumping to conclusions about things you know nothing about!
Regards,
Samantha
70. Christina on December 12th, 2010 at 22:49:
Samantha,
First, I apologize for calling you in my previous comment Mr. Sam instead of Ms. Sam. I honestly thought you were a male.
In view of your comment addressed to Mary, with regards to the Mavi Marmara, it goes without saying that I cannot comment at all, as my knowledge is restricted to newspaper articles and the internet. It pleases me though that Mr. O’Keefe gave evidence & testified to the competent Bodies for the purposes of the investigation.
As far as it concerns the Strofades IV, Mr. O’ Keefe denied to testify to the Greek Authorities for the purposes of the investigation. He rejected to make use of this right.
This is puzzling. Mr. O’Keefe claims that he, together with nine more convoy members, were “kidnapped” and brought to Greece against their will. Then, when the Greek Authorities initiated an investigation, he denied to testify (and the rest nine convoy members as well).
Isn’t it only logical that one who is being “kidnapped” to testify this to the competent Bodies in order for justice to prevail and in order for the victimizer to be punished? Why would one deny to officially testify and sign his statement, when he is the victim in a case?
71. Miri on December 12th, 2010 at 22:57:
Mary Rizzo offered King Tatt two options — after he first agreed to the interview (before he changed his mind) — a phone interview, during which a recording would be made, or a written interview in which she would send him a list of questions to answer.
Then he started to demand to see the questions BEFORE in order to decide if he would ‘have enough time’ to answer them.
My question for Kennykins — were he here, himself, instead of sending his minions to check on censorship* — what would be more simpler than having the questions, and answering them in any way he saw fit?
Instead, he decided not to ‘share’ ‘truth,’ blaming it on Mary’s friendship with me, and on her perceived friendship with Christina Baseos.
So much for ‘truth,’ which is an empty slogan in O’Keefe’s world.
*the demigod has a history of projection. Once he saw he was unable to bully me on my fb wall, he deleted me. His friends from the Salem News kept me off the comment section of the King piece attacking this article (without merit, of course), while complaining of censorship here.
72. Miri on December 12th, 2010 at 23:24:
Who are you kidding, Sam? The term ‘bitchfest’ absolutely has everything to do with gender.
By any chance, is there any kind of record of O’Con’s testimony to the Turkish government? Considering that he never backs up anything he says with verifiable documentation, it would be a surprising delight to just once, see documentation (he refused to show any documentation regarding the alleged chartering of the ship).
Pity he hides everything of significance. I’ve lost count at how many times I’ve heard him brag about ‘disarming’ several Israeli commandos (blindfolded, with one hand tied behind his back, while standing on one foot, no doubt), yet I’ve never seen an article or video involving anyone else from the MMM claiming to have witnessed such an heroic endeavor.
Funny, as I’ve noted above, his story of having been battered by the ITF is virtually identical to a battering by the Israelis some years prior (see the links, above, from his own websites).
Additionally, Sam, while you call me names, you continue to do what every SuperKen syncophant does: Ignore all significant anomalies regarding this man. And, when he’s brutally honest about his con game, as in his website where we are asked to INVEST in his grandiose flotilla (you know, the one that he’s going to ask Chavez to be on) by hitting the DONATE button that leads to the Paypal account for the “Ken O’Keefe Stolen Property Fund.”
73. Sam on December 13th, 2010 at 0:02:
@Christina:
No need to apologise for the gender mix up :o)
You say that “Ken refused to testify to the Greek Authorities for the purposes of the investigation.” Where is this allegation coming from? If he did refuse then im sure its documented somewhere? Perhaps Mary Rizzo could back up this claim with some evidence?
@Miri,
I’m sure anyone who reads your comments will understand why I will be ignoring any future comments from you. You are just vile. If Ken want to refuse an “interview” with Mary Rizzo, that is his choice. He owes her nothing.
Now, I have just given an example of Mary Rizzo’s false allegations against Ken (I have many more). Let’s hear her response……
74. Maryam S on December 13th, 2010 at 2:15:
Bingo, Miri. What the heck is up with that? If I want to invest (which I assume would enable me to become a partner in the venture), instead my money is called a DONATION (which means I get nothing out of giving it, not even a tax credit because, guess what, Aloha Palestine is not a charitable organization!), I get to watch my money instead go into Ken O’Keefe’s pocket so that he can buy himself a new Mac???
Someone explain this to me. Please. In fact, it should be explained to everybody, right?
75. Mary Rizzo on December 13th, 2010 at 7:33:
Sam: Now, I have just given an example of Mary Rizzo’s false allegations against Ken (I have many more). Let’s hear her response……
Mary: If he has testified, please could you give me an url of that? I have actually read all I could get my hands on and have been unable to see his list in the names of witnesses. If you say that it’s documented and factual, I would be overjoyed to read it and I would absolutely extend an apology. Until I see documentation of it, I maintain the position that in my research, I could not find a single stitch of evidence substantiating that he had testified.
Where are your others? Bring it on!
Did Ken or did Ken not get a passport in Rome in 2004? Did he or did he not travel just this past September to the USA on his USA passport?
Oh, that might seem like small potatoes, but if his big thing is that he has the “guts” to reject his US privileges, but he actually “doesn’t” it kind of makes the many question marks about integrity and TRUTH come up.
Besides, just the other day, he AGAIN repeated that he and others “JUMPED ON” the ship (obstensibly to retain property). So, what does this do to the kidnapping narrative?
Do you realise that accusing others of one of the most heinous and horrible crimes on the books (which at least in MY country is considered in the Penal Code when it occurs outside our soil, I don’t know about other law, is classified in the special crimes articles together with terrorism?) To smear innocent parties of this – AND ALL IN THE NAME OF GAZA?! – is totally unacceptable.
He and the other 9 REFUSED to be taken to the shore at 500 metres. He attempted to involve other vessels with an emergency SOS, which in maritime law is almost the most serious of offences and could have lead to a scenario we can’t really begin to fathom.
Regarding the interview. You can read my communication with Ken. I hold nothing back, it’s all there. Where did I lack respect or treat him rudely? Indeed it was HE who insulted me with his superior tone, and has continued in this vein constantly.
And Ellie… YOO HOO, where did you disappear to? Where were you “misrepresented” if that is your complaint. All the quotes from you in the article are your direct dispatches. Were they accurate? Did you cause undue alarm and declare information that was untrue, or was all of that factual?
76. Mary Rizzo on December 13th, 2010 at 8:17:
Ellie Merton, a person who is one of your Facebook Friends has just informed me that you claim I did not contact you. You should open your email! I did not respond to your “friend request” on FB because at this time I am not accepting “friendships” from persons I do not personally know. So, I took note of your email address and wrote you a note saying how you could contact me, since this seems to be a very important thing for you to “clear your name”. The only way I think you could do it was to retract your personal statements and the RTH statement as containing false content and asking others to disseminate this content far and wide (for the sake of Gaza). In case you don’t then the words that are by you are the words that you yourself have written, and nothing has been erroneously transcribed.
Second point: I did not need to get in touch with RTH or anyone connected “during” the crisis, because I was at the time, like everyone else, merely an involved observer. Making the choice as to whether or not act upon the demands. I refused to act upon threats against Egypt, as any activist for Palestine has become aware that this is counterproductive (if the goal is bringing in Aid. If the goal is something else, then one can do what they want, but for aid delivery, one is required, whether one wants it or not, to cooperate with the existing protocol. I thought Israel would see their blockade as useless following the successful mission of VP5, but I was wrong) However, even Hamas refuses to condone resistance actions against Egypt. Think about that. If this is their instruction, what gives ANY activist the right to combat that? I don’t see the change in position, and this is direct instructions from Meshaal. If you believe that your org knows better than Meshaal does what the correct behaviour to take with Egypt is, then come out and say it, but say it plainly, because Hamas does not approve of threats ot Egypt.
Making the choice to disseminate emergency calls to all embassies and media was another choice. I was invited DURING the crisis to a small FB group obstensibly about Gaza Actions. I mentioned that we had to exercise prudence and due diligence (that is, check to verify facts before making statements that migh turn out to be false). I was censored. I believe I still have (and ALWAYS HAD) the sacrosanct RIGHT to express my dissent to the dissemination of things that are not verified for motives of reliability. That I was censored excluded my view from anyone who might want to know. In that time I observed NO more words directed towards the convoy, only calls for economic support to Ken. There were also journalistic reports containing facts (by Ken) later totally contradicted (by Ken)… so more question marks emerged.
Far from keeping silent, people were rumbling, and I offered to look at all the information. I offered to listen to anyone who had input. As you can see, dating from 14 NOVEMBER is my call on the RTH board asking for persons to contact me. At this time, you (as per your own admission) had passed the keys over to another person. This other person knew of the RTH board, knew I was doing this investigation, and also did not contact me. I was debating whether or not to contact her, but she lashed out at a woman who had been awareded by CAIR (look it up) for her contributions to the battle against Islamophobia. She is well-known and greatly considered by Muslims in the USA and by others for her efforts. Leila said to her, when this woman was asking a very courteous, legitimate question, “I never heard of you so you can’t be anyone so shoooo!”
I thought, no, what in the world can such an infantile kind of response say about a person? I continued to look through the material I copied from RTH and the various URLS.
So, Ellie Merton, I still fail to understand what your problem might be. You were quoted directly from your own public words (no need to ask permission, they are public as per YOUR choice to render them public and WIDELY circulated) , you were no longer the Laiason when the “investigation”, which is actually just an overview of the material available and that augmented by any clarification necessary by anyone involved who wished to participate, one of them REFUSING to do so because I would actually contact the “other side”! , and I had written an email to you the other day which you have not responded to, as well as not responding here.
Again, perhaps you don’t understand what it is you are complaining about. If you do not support any longer your own words and actions, then say so!
77. Christina on December 13th, 2010 at 8:26:
@Sam:
In one of your previous posts, you made clear that you were a member of the convoy. I have no reason whatsoever to doubt this and I believe that no one has.
Therefore, it is only normal that you do have knowledge of the facts of the Strofades incident. However, allow me to point out that your knowledge of the actual facts (and by that I mean knowledge you have from personal eye-witnessing) is limited up to a certain point, since you are not one of the 10 convoy members who were allegedly “kidnapped”.
So, maybe you would like to cross-check with Ken and the other 9 persons the “allegation” of them not testifying.
You have given me the impression that you do not have any problem to share your knowledge with regards to the incident in Libya, therefore, if that is acceptable by you, may I address you a few questions? I have made the same questions in one of my previous posts (which I copy hereunder for your easy reference), further to reading a comment posted by Ms. Merton. I was under the impression that Ms. Merton would have the courtesy to leave another comment (I mean she did once, why not twice?) but unfortunately she has not.
Therefore, since you were kind enough to reply to my comments and haven’t disappeared like Ms. Merton, I believe that your input will be very enlightening.
1) Is there a written agreement/contract between RTH and the ship-owing company duly signed & sealed, containing all terms & conditions agreed with regards to the charter of the vessel? A copy of this contract should be provided
2) Are there written instructions from the ship-owners to the charterers, clearly giving them authorization & instructions to remit the freight to the charterers’ broker bank account instead of a bank account designated by the ship-owner? Provision of these written instructions should be provided
3) How much money were remitted to the RTH’s broker covering the freight? Proof of payment that clearly shows the beneficiary’s details together with the actual amount remitted should be provided. N.B The only irrevocable document that is considered as proof of payment are SWIFT copies issued by the paying banks.
4) Alleged “kidnapping”: The burden of proof always lies with the person who lays the charges, therefore the following have first to be established for the “kidnapping” charges to stand:
a) Ransom: What was the amount of ransom requested by the “kidnappers”?
b) Motive: What was the ultimate motive of the alleged “kidnappers”?
c) Benefit: What was the benefit pursued by the alleged “kidnappers”?
d) Unknown destination: Why would the alleged “kidnappers” inform the abductees, while still on board, of their destination (i.e. Greece)? Why would the alleged “kidnappers” inform all relevant Authorities after the vessel had sailed from Libya about the incident? Why would the alleged “kidnappers” have been in continuous contact with the Libyan Authorities, the Greek Ministry of Marine Affairs, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking protection and resolution? Why would the alleged “kidnappers” require from the above Authorities to immediately contact and inform the Embassies & Ministries of Foreign Affairs of all the countries involved directly or indirectly to this incident?
5) RTH claims that the monies have been safely reclaimed. How much money exactly were reclaimed? Ms. Merton claims $75.000, while Mr. O’ Keefe claims $82.500. Which of these amounts is the actual amount of monies reclaimed?
6) Who is in possession of the “reclaimed” monies? Has RTH paid with these monies the freight covering the charter of the second vessel that actually delivered the humanitarian aid from Derna/Libya to El Arish/Egypt?
78. Mary Rizzo on December 13th, 2010 at 10:35:
In the UN report on the Mavi Marmara: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/15session/A.HRC.15.21_en.PDF
115. With the available evidence it is difficult to delineate the exact course of events on
the top deck between the time of the first soldier descending and the Israeli forces securing
control of the deck. A fight ensued between passengers and the first soldiers to descend
onto the top deck that resulted in at least two soldiers being pushed down onto the bridge
deck below, where they were involved in struggles with groups of passengers who
attempted to take their weapons. The equipment jacket of at least one soldier was removed
as he was pushed over the side of the deck. A number of weapons were taken from the
soldiers by passengers and thrown into the sea: one weapon, a 9-mm pistol, was unloaded
by a passenger, a former U.S. Marine, in front of witnesses and then hidden in another part
of the ship in an attempt to retain evidence.
If this Former US Marine is indeed Ken O’Keefe, (and I have no reason to doubt it was) I stand corrected. His name is not mentioned in the report, nor in the Terkel report or any other official report. If he was indeed called to testify (which seems NORMAL and good that it has happened, I am pleased to hear it and as said, I STAND CORRECTED).
That said, the IHH report does not mention him by name, (nor as one whose property was stolen) and the account of thej disarming differs somewhat. However, all of this is not the real point, as even the UN report admits it is difficult to delineate the exact course of events. I will give that there was tremendous confusion, I will also give that during the actual events on the Mavi Marmara (and this writer had friends involved and even wrote a piece supporting the IHH initiative a full month prior to the Flotilla, appearing on PTT, and many many posts following that), confusion reigned supreme. We had heard that a very important Imam was killed. There was a great deal of shock and distress, and my contact who was in direct contact with a person on the ship with a high rank, repeated that this was merely a rumour and that we should not spread that panic, as it would only cause much grief were it to be true. As far as he knew, it was totally unverified and indeed it was stated by another eyewitness that he was taken to a place on the ship to be protected and that he was not harmed. I believe we will never know the precise events, given that sources have variations and all the evidence has been tampered with.
The point is, whatever ken’s role, whether in the centre of the action, part of the action or a witness, he has appointed himself with the title of “Mavi Marmara Survivor” and this alone is meant to grant him permanent “reliability”, which is not automatic, as boarding a ship against orders and then accusing the ship of kidnapping does not stand up as a narrative once the facts are laid out. I continue to stress that only several Western activists have had the audacity to call themselves “survivors”, and many of them do not make economic appeals that are emotionally connected and which (in my opinion) do not honour those who instead are the martyrs.
79. Sam on December 13th, 2010 at 19:19:
Here are some more innacuracies from Mary Rizzo
She claims:
„Ken O’Keefe and others had flown directly to Libya and were not part of the land convoy up until arriving at the termination of the land journey, thus had not shared the experiences of the core group.“
This is untrue. Ken and the 30 other convoy members flew to Tripoli. The „termination of the land journey“ was at the Lybian/ Egyptian land border. This took approx 5 days. (not including the days we spent at the border before we realised we would not be allowed to cross by land)
She also says:
„As wrong as the closure is, crossing a border without permission is not an act of civil disobedience, it is violation of an international law and there would be consequences that perhaps those who first began RTH were not seeking, which would entail violating the law in a foreign country while there on a temporary visa for passage purposes.“
The R2H convoy had no intention of „crossing a border without permission“. Such an allegation is ludricrous. People who cross borders without permission get shot and we all aware of that!
A Libyan convoy „Al Quds“ was supposed to be crossing through this border within a week or 2. We were told we would be allowed to join them. We had to weigh up our options as they were presented to us. If we waited for the Al Quds convoy we could have lost convoy members who were limited to time constraints and had obligations back home.
I dont know if you’ve ever travelled with a convoy to Gaza but im sure you’ve read enough to know that they are met with problems at every corner. We can only deal with them as best we can with the resources we have. Sometimes wrong decissions are made and can leave us wonering „what if“. Hindsight is 20/20.
She alo claims:
„One note circulating on Facebook was practically claiming that there would be blood if the Egyptians did not open the border“
Can you back this up please? A source and direct quote will suffice. Please dont use phrases like „practicaly claiming“ to distort the truth to fit your perception of what confrontation means. It was made very clear that any confrontation would be non violent.
So Mary, You have very little understanding of the facts and what problems we faced on the convoy. Some issues we faced may never be made public and we certainly dont owe you an explanation. You can continue to fill the gaps with your lies and false alligations against Ken but those of us who took part in the convoy know the truth.
Our mission was to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. We completed that mission and overcame the many obsticles that were put in our way. We are extremely proud of our fellow convoy members and leadership and will not allow the haters to discredit us or distract us from continuing our work to help the Palestinians.
The next few paragrphs of Mary’s investigative masterpiece is riddled with so many innacuracies that it will take some time for me to pick through them. Please be patient and I’ll try to address them all.
Also, You have referred to yourself as a Journalist on many occasions. Can you please clarify where you have studied or practised this profession?
Regards,
Sam
80. Maryam S on December 13th, 2010 at 19:57:
If I may be so bold – I don’t see where Mary Rizzo is under any obligation to provide her credentials to a commenter who refuses to properly identify herself/himself.
“A Libyan convoy „Al Quds“ was supposed to be crossing through this border within a week or 2. We were told we would be allowed to join them. We had to weigh up our options as they were presented to us. If we waited for the Al Quds convoy we could have lost convoy members who were limited to time constraints and had obligations back home.” Well, this is news to me. Why didn’t you just wait for this convoy, then? And send the people who could not wait, back home? Why on earth would you spend $75,000 or more just so that some people would have the thrill of traveling to Gaza? This makes no sense, in fact, it’s laughable.
81. Mary Rizzo on December 13th, 2010 at 19:57:
FINALLY!!!! SOME ANSWERS!!!!!
Here are some more innacuracies from Mary Rizzo
She claims:
„Ken O’Keefe and others had flown directly to Libya and were not part of the land convoy up until arriving at the termination of the land journey, thus had not shared the experiences of the core group.“
This is untrue. Ken and the 30 other convoy members flew to Tripoli. The „termination of the land journey“ was at the Lybian/ Egyptian land border. This took approx 5 days. (not including the days we spent at the border before we realised we would not be allowed to cross by land)
Mary: Yes, flown into Libya, Tripoli is where the flights generally go so, if there were several days more journey to the border, does this change the fact that OTHERS drove and supported the land journey and others FLEW into Libya? Can you really compare the two experiences? I can’t!!!
sam: She also says:
„As wrong as the closure is, crossing a border without permission is not an act of civil disobedience, it is violation of an international law and there would be consequences that perhaps those who first began RTH were not seeking, which would entail violating the law in a foreign country while there on a temporary visa for passage purposes.“
The R2H convoy had no intention of „crossing a border without permission“. Such an allegation is ludricrous. People who cross borders without permission get shot and we all aware of that!
Mary: What does this look like to you? The combination of this with the insistence (repeated) confrontation time! >> Ken O’Keefe There is a limit to how long we can play this sit and wait game before the convoy members will go straight to the border. I would ask that everyone be ready to turn the pressure on big time if we are forced to do this.e ready to turn the pressure on big time if we are forced to do this.
Sam: A Libyan convoy „Al Quds“ was supposed to be crossing through this border within a week or 2. We were told we would be allowed to join them.
Mary: logistics don’t depend on “we were told” but on PAPERWORK and agreed upon documents. The Egyptian letter we got after writing to Eypgt to ask for their leniency said “If there had been the proper documents, there would not have been problems”. Why do things without being prepared in the proper manner???
Sam: We had to weigh up our options as they were presented to us. If we waited for the Al Quds convoy we could have lost convoy members who were limited to time constraints and had obligations back home.
Mary: please explain the situation here, it is unclear to me. Did they give you more than words? Do they have diverse status because they are not on a transit visa? Why was the scheduling not coordinated?
Sam: I dont know if you’ve ever travelled with a convoy to Gaza but im sure you’ve read enough to know that they are met with problems at every corner. We can only deal with them as best we can with the resources we have. Sometimes wrong decissions are made and can leave us wonering „what if“. Hindsight is 20/20.
Mary: I have never travelled with a Convoy to Gaza or elsewhere. I am sure they are riddled with problems and this is precisely why paperwork and documents have to be clear and more than that, one has to also be able to know what is legal and what is illegal and do nothing that will endanger the persons, the cause, the movement or anything. To make a decision for oneself is one thing, to make a rash decision and then rather than face up to it being wrong, to persist that one had acted in total correctness is wrong. Do you happen to understand that I am not criticising the effort, but the need to manipulate activists to believe and disseminate a false narrative.
Sam: She alo claims:
„One note circulating on Facebook was practically claiming that there would be blood if the Egyptians did not open the border“
Can you back this up please? A source and direct quote will suffice. Please dont use phrases like „practicaly claiming“ to distort the truth to fit your perception of what confrontation means. It was made very clear that any confrontation would be non violent.
Mary: Absolutely. It was Dave Evans and his Facebook wall. A discussion emerged from his “there will be blood, remember what happened last time in Egypt”. Many of us were shocked by it and David, who is here I am SURE will remember this! It involved a great number of persons. I will try to look for the URL and if you have Facebook, you can find it as well.
Sam: So Mary, You have very little understanding of the facts and what problems we faced on the convoy. Some issues we faced may never be made public and we certainly dont owe you an explanation. You can continue to fill the gaps with your lies and false alligations against Ken but those of us who took part in the convoy know the truth.
Mary: You DO owe activists clarity!!! You accepted their help, money, support and you continue to expect them to believe whatever it is that is told them by you or members of your group. Others in your group TOLD ME DIFFERENT INFORMATION!! But possibly realising that they would be isolated and “punished” in some way, they begged for anonymity, which has been respected, but I learned from them that things were not as they were lead to believe. You do NOT address the “kidnapping” but WHERE is the contract??? Where is the vesting to the broker? and mostly, why the contradictions all over the place?! Which story are we supposed to have believed???? Can you at least be straight here instead of defensive? It MATTERS THAT YOU ARE ACCUSING OTHERS OF CRIMES!!!
Sam: Our mission was to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. We completed that mission and overcame the many obsticles that were put in our way. We are extremely proud of our fellow convoy members and leadership and will not allow the haters to discredit us or distract us from continuing our work to help the Palestinians.
Mary: creating a false “survivor story” such as being kidnapped does not help anyone and DOES hurt Palestinians.
Sam: The next few paragrphs of Mary’s investigative masterpiece is riddled with so many innacuracies that it will take some time for me to pick through them. Please be patient and I’ll try to address them all.
Mary : GOOD!!!!!
Sam: Also, You have referred to yourself as a Journalist on many occasions. Can you please clarify where you have studied or practised this profession?
Mary: have you ever heard of “Citizen journalism”? Where someone decides to hold to the principles of journalism (accuracy, due diligence and sourcing). Is that good enough for you?
Regards,
Sam
82. Mary Rizzo on December 13th, 2010 at 20:15:
PROOF of the claims of “violent confrontation and deaths of some convoy members and Egyptian forces”
http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=153618004680814&id=100000433418007
David Evans Embassy contact information is at the bottom of this article. Please call them. It’s the least that we can do for these courageous convoy members. Failure to convince Egypt to allow passage of the convoy may result in violent confrontation and the deaths of some convoy members and Egyptian forces.
In Limbo in Libya: Gaza Road to Hope Convoy Urges Contact with Egyptian Embassies – Salem-News.Com
http://www.salem-news.com
83. Mary Rizzo on December 13th, 2010 at 20:23:
just in case David wants to cancel off his post or comments (LOTS of THAT going on in the FB world! this is why I copy things on HD and paper).
Mary Rizzo excuse me…. violent confrontation. PLEASE explain!
03 November at 20:48 • LikeUnlike
Ken Hammacott David I take an issue here with you. It is not for us to convince the Egyptain Authorities of anything.
It is for us to seek and gain favour of the Egyptians to allow the convoys through.
Which is not what we are doing at the moment.
Last Dec…ember/January G.F.M. Cairo. It is against Egyptian law to hold a massive public demonstration. We broke their law, and suffered the consequeces.
Good job we were not in North Korea or China. None of us would be here by now.
See more
03 November at 21:47 • UnlikeLike • 2 people
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Sherif Amer The Egyptian people were ever with the aid convoys and will be forever, but the authorities have some explanations with that.
My own opinion: Remembering the British convoy headed by G.Ghalawy, they were informed before coming to come across… Al-Arish then enter from Rafah crossing gate, they didn’t abide with the rules and come from another side, so the Egy. Authorities prevent them from passing. I wished if our authorities would let them pass respecting to their effort and lining up with the whole aim of the convoy which was just for AID. Our authorities take this as a breach of its lands and rules. Now, all the convoys which come according to the Egyptian rules, enter Gaza without any troubles.
See more
04 November at 00:24 • UnlikeLike • 1 person
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Ken Hammacott That’s exactly my point.
Am waiting for news from the ‘Road to Hope comvoy’ as to what route they will be taking to reach Gaza ?
04 November at 01:12 • LikeUnlike
Mary Rizzo Sherif, stated perfectly. David, can we get a response on the comment about violence and death. This is not something at all that should even be considered. Does make it look extremely bad and “pre-meditated” or whatever. Just explain because what you wrote is idiotic. Seriously.
04 November at 10:14 • LikeUnlike
David Evans My concern is that if the convoy leadership may decide to defy Egyptian authorities and begin to roll into Egypt without permission. This action, I think, would result in Egyptian border guards dutifully opening fire on the convoy in an ordered attempt to stop it.
04 November at 18:11 • LikeUnlike
Mary Rizzo ‎1) we are not playing war games and defying egyptian authorities is their responsibility. If they endanger every other convoy that’s for better or worse following a procedure and enduring much stress and expense, then this is plain old irresponsible! To Gazans and to the other thousands actively organising.
2) are you projecting your desire on it or is this in some kind of plan? if it is, let’s say it’s pretty ill-advised.
3) where do you get the idea they are going to storm through a military guard between Libya and Egypt?See more
04 November at 18:19 • LikeUnlike
David Evans There was considerable violence at the Rafah border to Gaza when similar stalling tactics were applied by Egypt on Galloway’s convoy, and an Egyptian tower guard was killed.
04 November at 18:19 • LikeUnlike
Mary Rizzo yes, and they totally modified their plan for the subsequent trip. If the Egyptians said Al Arish, and this is actually what VP 5 had to do too, why is this convoy expecting something totally different? Does it bring aid in? And besides, I would like to know who gave them a mandate to now threaten that activists will campaign for a boycott of Egyptian tourism? We aren’t doing it with their wall, with their side of the blockade, but we will do this for 20 vans? I am sorry, I am not understanding this at all. Please explain the strategy of all of this and how it will help Gazans FIRST and foremost. My loyalty is totally to Palestinians, and I’m not going to put some Westerns on the top of my priorities.See more
04 November at 18:23 • LikeUnlike • 1 person
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David Evans Egyptian people, I know, are at odds with their Zionist-U.S. controlled government re: Palestine, but the good Egyptian people have no say in the matter. Anwar Sadat made a huge mistake in dealing with Zionists and it cost him his life. One does not deal with incorrigible racist murders. For several reasons, including the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Mubarak is holding power and complying with Israel’s demands to contain Hamas. His government has been throwing roadblock after roadblock and ridiculous time constraints and hoop-jumping on these convoys in order to uphold Israels wishes and discourage future convoys from forming and casting light on
Gaza. Imposing an expensive ferry ride to Al Arish is just another such discouraging move by Mubarak and Egyptian authorities.See more
04 November at 18:34 • LikeUnlike • 1 person
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Mary Rizzo ok, Egyptians and lots of others know it. So… how does boycotting the industry 75% of the Egyptian people are dependent upon for their livelihood change things? Why did no one ever call seriously for this action when Egypt was doing things against Palestine and its own people? Think about why. I would like someone to explain how the punishment of the Egyptian people will help Palestine, please explain.
04 November at 18:39 • LikeUnlike • 1 person
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Ken Hammacott No convoy has yet defied the Egyptians though the Egyptians have been violent to them at times.
If the organisers were stupid enough to roll into Egypt against a ban on travell to them. That would be the last convoy you will ever see.
04 November at 19:42 • UnlikeLike • 1 person
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Felicity Arbuthnot From where I am, Ken has it spot on.”It is for us to seek and gain favour of the Egyptians to allow the convoys through.” No country is going to be threatened in to letting in anyone, yet alone a large convoy, especially if they are saying they will break through anyway. Madness, insanity, not peace building. Having spent much time on Middle East borders, there is only one way, suspend impatience and just be as courteous etc., as possible. It is their country and their decision.
04 November at 19:42 • UnlikeLike • 1 person
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David Evans Ok. Reset: All I was calling for was for people to contact their Egyptian Embassies, as we’ve done for convoys in the past. I implored people to make that call because I feel there is a POSSIBILITY, however remote, that a physical, perhaps violent confrontation MAY be in the offing if the convoy remains stuck at the border. Now I’m being blamed for bringing damage to good Egyptian people. Sorry about any confusion I may have engendered here, but phone calls are still appropriate, as the convoy is still stuck.
04 November at 20:15 • LikeUnlike
David Evans CONTACT EMBASSIES TO HELP:
USA 202 895 5400
Algeria (+21321) 691807
England (0207) 499 3304
France (+33) 491 250 404
…Ireland (+353) 1 660 6718
Italy (+39) 6 844 0192
Jordan (+96) 23… 201 6181
Malaysia (+60) 3 4256 8184
Spain (+34) 91 577… 6308
Syria (+96311) 3330 756
Tunisia (+216) 7180 0447
Turkey (+90) 312 468 4647
See more
04 November at 20:17 • LikeUnlike
Sherif Amer I’d like to press ‘Like’ on every post from you! In fact, You are ALL right. The issue is that we have a stupid, selfish, moron, fool, and bastard regime. We – the Egyptians – hate it more than the blindness and wish the day we blast it as …a nuclear bomb as soon as possible. This regime hates us – its ppl – and the Palestinians and the whole Arabs in 2x countries in the middle east, it just deifies the chairs and taking the helm for just money, I’d never mind if you killed them all or stabbed anyone of them, just beggars.
What make us – the ppl – sad is that all the world thinks that we have a hand in what happening to the Palestinians or we’re helping the zionists against Gazans, Yes our regime does, but we weren’t to do that to our brothers in Palestine.
Hope the convoy pass peacefully and easily!
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04 November at 22:22 • UnlikeLike • 2 people
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David Evans It is important for you to know, Sherif, that all of us in the world who can find Palestine on a map know that the good Egyptian people have no control over government policy. We understand US hegemony and support of dictatorial regimes in… your region and throughout our World.
There is great admiration for Egypt, its long rich history and its good people.
I can identify with your shame though, as we in the US who have consciences are also ashamed of our belligerant government and are sorry for the immeasurable damage it has brought to innocent people in our name.See more
04 November at 22:38 • LikeUnlike • 1 person
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Ken Hammacott Dave, Nobody is blaming you for anything. You havn’t done anything to be blamed for.
Our remit is a simple one to offer aid where aid can be distributed without confrontation or violence, and with the consent of those Arab countries over whos lands we have to travell.
Let us get away from creating Martys and 24 hour heroes. None of that is going to ease a difficult situation. And it’s not what the Palestinians want anyway.See more
04 November at 22:43 • LikeUnlike
David Evans Those in the convoy did nothing wrong either:
“From Tabruk. Laura Stuart a London housewife and mother of 3 children wrote from Tabruk today, Road to Hope – Humanitarian Aid Convoy is now into our 10th day of waiting near the Egyptian border… for our journey to Gaza to continue. We have been stalled at the Libyan/Egyptian border because we had believed our access to Egypt and Rafah was assured and our travel agreed with the Libyan Al Quds 5 convoy, it seems we have been let down by one of our Libyan organisers who is based in the U.K…”
http://roadtohope.co.uk/?p=126See more
05 November at 11:46 • LikeUnlike
Ken Hammacott The plus side in all of this is at least they are amongst friendly people in a friendly country.
But is is increasingly beginning to look like some sort of rescue operation may have to be launched.
05 November at 14:20 • LikeUnlike
Gail Stangeland Jarrell why because Egypt is a USA puppet…
05 November at 15:29 • LikeUnlike • 1 person
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84. Mary Rizzo on December 13th, 2010 at 20:27:
so, take into consideration that THIS (blood, violence, rolling into Egypt without permission…) is the stuff WE were getting given to us from activists CLOSE TO THE CONVOY! So, you were there, you saw what you saw, we were here, being told to do things, put pressure or else there would be all the things that we NOW agree are TOTALLY unacceptable, but THIS is the message we were getting every 2 minutes on our feed. Read it carefully and you tell me, Sam, was there reason to say STOP!!!
David Evans My concern is that if the convoy leadership may decide to defy Egyptian authorities and begin to roll into Egypt without permission. This action, I think, would result in Egyptian border guards dutifully opening fire on the convoy in an ordered attempt to stop it.
04 November at 18:11 • LikeUnlike
85. Miri on December 13th, 2010 at 21:03:
Hey, Sam — Tripoli is in Libya.
86. Sam on December 13th, 2010 at 21:33:
@Miryam: When did I refuse to identify myself? You have my name, sex and know I was on the convoy. What else do you need and what use would this information be to you?
You said:
“Well, this is news to me. Why didn’t you just wait for this convoy, then? And send the people who could not wait, back home? Why on earth would you spend $75,000 or more just so that some people would have the thrill of traveling to Gaza? This makes no sense, in fact, it’s laughable.”
It is very hard to convince a cynic like you. There were a few reasons why we didnt travel with this convoy, none of which need to be explained to you or Mary Rizzo. There are many problems that would arise from sending people back home prematurely. One of the more obvious ones is that people are needed to drive the vehicles!
You think we spent $75,000 so people could have “the thrill” of travelling to Gaza?? If you think our motive for travelling to Gaza was for a thrill then you are rather sick and have no understanding of the convoy or its members.
87. xa on December 13th, 2010 at 22:20:
I’m puzzled about this “al quds convoy”.
Egypt has said that NO convoys will go through by land.
But somehow, this “al quds convoy” was going to be the only one, and Road To Hope expected that they would simply be allowed to join it.
Anyone who has been on any convoys knows that was never going to happen. Egypt doesn’t make up a rule like “no land convoys”, decide to break that rule for one convoy from Libya, and THEN decide to say “oh sod it, you lot can come in as well”. In addition, on pretty much all the convoys that have gone through different countries, the organisers are told “you can’t just add people at the border”.
It was never going to happen.
I think that most R2H members believed it was going to happen. This was just another bit of complete incompetence on the part of the people who organised the convoy, misleading the decent people who gave up so much time just to try to help Gaza.
Remember, the Road To Hope leaders decided they were better than anyone else who was organising convoys. They spent a LOT of time badmouthing other pro-Palestinian groups and activists. They were going to do it better.
And yet, despite believing (against all evidence) that they would simply be allowed to tag along into Egypt, none of them bothered getting visas to go through Egypt!
Almost everyone on R2H is a person of deep conviction. Those who led it, who lied and conned people – surely not just O’Keefe (he joined in Tripoli, he was not responsible for all the claims about “al quds convoy”) – they bear responsibility for bringing ridicule to the movement as well as playing round with people’s hopes so much.
One of the R2H participants – yes, someone who was there right to the end – posted on his Facebook wall a few days ago: “ROAD TO HOPE WAS ALL ABOUT EGOS AND HOW NOT TO ORGANISE A CONVOY”
That’s a damning indictment, coming as it did from a person who has been on several convoys but thought Road To Hope was going to be so much better.
88. Maryam S on December 14th, 2010 at 2:53:
Sam, I hardly think ‘Sam’ is an adequate identification of who you are, nor is ” I was on the convoy” sufficient. How do we know you were anywhere near the convoy? We don’t.
Not to squabble, but there is nothing “sick” about asking questions where it concerns a major expenditure of donated money, such as the decision of whether to charter a ship or not, or not continue towards Gaza, etc. etc. Considering that O’Keefe seems to make a habit out of asking for people to pay his way wherever he goes, I consider it a rather pertinent point I raised. Nothing “sick” except your defensiveness, actually. What is bothering you so much?
89. Miri on December 14th, 2010 at 6:14:
Sam, with the exception of name-calling, you continue to talk in circles. How did you not know that Tripoli is part of Libya? You seem to imply that the R2H’s finances are no one’s business, yet R2H fundraised for the event, and Mr. O’Krap has passed the hat for his own personal needs on many occasions (the one on his ‘world citizen’ site is blatantantly fraudulent (INVEST in the impossibly gargantuan flotilla by hitting the DONATE button so you can use the Paypal account for the “Ken O’Keefe’s Stolen Property Fund”! A mere mortal would have been ashamed to raise money off the decaying bones of those massacred on the Marmara, but not your great white hope. He’s STILL doing it, more than seven months later).
Sam, do you not mind that one of R2H’s vans was ABANDONED? How do you abandon a vehicle in such difficult economic times? I know it was essential, because King Tatt used the vehicle as an excuse for jumping onto a ship which he and others were ordered to stay off of (since no contractual obligation had been met):
“…we also had one vehicle on the ship along with two leaders (including myself) onboard; it was only natural to at least retain our property…” (“Road to Hope Kidnapping [sic] Statement of Events by Ken O’Keefe” November 18, 2010).
How could you be a legitimate activist and not be infuriated that the van was used and left in such a manner?
90. David Evans on December 14th, 2010 at 8:53:
Convoys can continue arriving silently at Port Al Arish, but silent convoys do little more than prolong the illegal closure of Gaza and relieve Israel of some of the burden of sustaining Gaza’s prisoners of Occupation. Blockade-busting convoys focus the world’s attention on the illegality, injustice and brutality of Israel.
The EU has just followed France, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina in moving towards recognizing a Palestinian state. Settlements and actions such as those aboard the Mavi Marmara and the Road To Hope convoys as well as Cast Lead and earlier Free Gaza convoys have all contributed to this change in international policy and sympathy for Palestinians.
Road To Hope and all involved, contributed much more than medical supplies to Gaza.
91. Mary Rizzo on December 14th, 2010 at 9:42:
Wow, look who’s here. You have a little something to answer for, David Evans. It has been stated by “Sam” who claims to have been on the convoy (but NOT one of the Gaza Ten) that never was there any sort of indication that there would be confrontation (indeed, that was the entire purpose of RTH as per its site, which then went dead and if anyone wanted to follow it, had to depend on the FB and Twitter communiqués) and that NEVER was there any kind of indication that the border would be crashed. Yet, as we can see in the above comments, taken from your FB page, you yourself were insisting that this was indeed the scenario that we had before us. So, where did you get your inflammatory urging about those two things that set activists into a state of distress, (nevermind how relatives might have been feeling, or Egyptians, which for some reason people think I care too much about)? This is your time to come clean, because this was the kind of message that was being circulated, along with the stuff later of the captain jumping ship, the kidnapping, the running off with other people’s money, the mistreatment on the ship, the being held at gunpoint and all the rest of the survivor narrative… where did you get that idea from?
Activists, if they want to contribute to disseminating awareness could learn a lesson from VP5… it was different from VP4 in very many ways, and the lessons learned from the previous mission that took a dramatic and negative turn were learned and the logistics rectified, as well as being an effort that was TRANSPARENT! We knew where they were, what their plans were, even though it was not flowing perfectly according to the timetable, and there were always contingency things to do, at no time was there the decision to improvise and risk everything and everyone, and the FOCUS WAS KEPT on the issue, not on the activists, not on the narrative of them having to put up with “ghetto hotels” and what have you (and this is only for a few, because we also got the note of “convoy members stranded in Libyan desert in extreme distress”). Activists need to be TRUTHFUL, CAREFUL, ACT OUT OF THE GREATER GOOD AND NOT INCITE when there is no reason to do so.
PTT has been in the front lines since its inception, and our other sites prior to that, to support so many grassroots actions and deeds, with particular focus on Popular Resistance by Palestinians. We are able to recognise when something has been brought from a pure and righteous thing to something that resembles the solidarity industry and the focus on the deeds of the heroic outsider.
We have always attempted to keep the focus on the greater good, empowerment of Palestinians and this through actions that will GAIN support rather than turn activists into ridiculous figures who are unable to be consistent, honest or pragmatic.
A tremendous error many of the activists make is that they look only at Gaza and they forget the other Palestinians. They forget that the only real convoy that will count at the end of the day IS THE CONVOY OF RETURN. When hundreds of thousands of Palestinians will take their rights into their own hands and return home, aided by all of us, of course, and supported fully both by practical and moral means. We will not be able to disappoint them, they better spit us out if we do.
Don’t forget what this is all about, it started A LONG TIME BEFORE the seige of Gaza. This is a problem that needs radical, dramatic and urgent solution. That solution is the unification of the Arab body, of the Palestinian people, who reject normalisation, who determine that they will engage in every sort of civil disobedience and they will recognise the common enemy and the struggle will reassume its proper dimensions: a Palestinian national struggle, a patriotic struggle that will accept outside help, BUT NEVER OUTSIDE LEADERSHIP or DIKTATS.
92. xa on December 14th, 2010 at 10:10:
If people want to confront the Egyptian part of the blockade etc., that’s a political decision. They have the right to want to do that.
Except Road To Hope was explicitly set up NOT to do that. They went on about it in their previous two websites. Mostly, it was a dig at Viva Palestina after what happened on Viva Palestina 3. Road To Hope was going to work “with” governments, not “confront” them.
It was Road To Hope’s big selling point.
So you can’t have it both ways: Either it was a political convoy aimed at forcing confrontation with the Egyptian state, or it was an aid convoy that was going to have to follow the normal rules.
Also, if people want to “confront” the blockade, don’t you think you need more than 50-60 people to do so? You need a mass movement of Egyptians and Libyans who can force the Egyptians to change their stance on Gaza and Palestine.
In the absence of that – and putting aside questions of whether it’s right or wrong – to talk of “confrontation” is just meaningless macho nonsense.
“Settlements and actions such as those aboard the Mavi Marmara and the Road To Hope convoys as well as Cast Lead and earlier Free Gaza convoys have all contributed to this change in international policy and sympathy for Palestinians.”
There’s one organisation missing from David’s list. See if you can spot which one.
93. Mary Rizzo on December 14th, 2010 at 12:03:
xa, you make a load of valuable points. I only hope (against hope) that someone will be reasonable enough to answer.
The fact that remains extremely negative, despite all of the “mess” of the situation itself and the fake kidnapping narrative we are expected to lap up, despite there is ZERO evidence of that and ALL the evidence points in the other direction, (sad as that might make us feel, and defensive as that might make those who were making all those claims become), is that those involved believe they don’t “owe” Mary Rizzo, PTT or anyone any kind of explanation.
First of all. I can “not owe” anyone any explanation if I decide to buy brand X instead of brand Y. I can “not owe” anyone any explanation if I decide with my own free time to see a movie or to stay at home and play with the kids. No one should / must be concerned. It’s my money, it’s my taste, it’s my freetime.
The moment, the instant, they ask for my support, my input, my money, my telephone calls, circulation of PRESS RELEASES and dissemination, the moment they make “requests” for us to involve ourselves in a political way as well (by demanding to boycott Egyptian tourism, by demanding things from X or Y govt for release of passports and what have you, the second they involve any activists for Palestine and obtain their support and attention: HELL YES THEY OWE!!!!
NO org can exist without proper accountability. How many thousands of gurus, orgs, foundations, etc RUN OFF WITH PEOPLE’S MONEY or blew it in bad investments or in some other way destroyed a sort of relationship of org/activist-supporter. Thousands and thousands have. How many have betrayed the purposes of their org, or been mismanaged or even dissolved without being in any way controlled? So many and this is a fact. If RTH never asked a thing from any of us, we could say, who the hell do they owe? But we all know this is untrue. If they are a regular and correct org, they will have bookkeeping that accounts for every expense, though many volunteers had to pay their own way for things.
I doubt there is going to be accountability, and since I personally gave nothing to them, (I check out the places I donate to carefully and I especially do micro-donations, direct contributions, which, anyone who has been involved with me knows, I itemise down to the very last cent, and nothing is cast to the wind or even spent for my own expenses to deliver the goods and funds) they may say, Rizzo, I owe you ZILCH. But they owe explanations for the money to their donors, and explanations for everything else to every activist they bothered to pressure them into action without reflection.
I was asked ALSO by persons involved in the convoy to look into it, and I did this because they invested their lives and did not any longer have confidence in the things being told to them and wanted objectivity to be part of it.
If you don’t think I’m objective that is your problem, honestly! Every party was invited to intervene fully, and some disappeared, some REFUSED, (just like they refused to be taken off that ship when the opportunity was given to them). It’s not my problem if the truth is not their narrative and their narrative is not the truth.
A time will come when they realise we all want the truth.
94. Miri on December 14th, 2010 at 15:16:
David, you and I have been going round and round for a couple of months, or so, with you claiming that SuperKen’s involvement with the MMM resulting in much better living for Gazans (though I have tagged you in articles saying there has been no change).
You have been thrilled to tell me that King Tatt stayed with you for a whopping three days, and he was a complete charmer during that period (remember, I said that even sociopaths could be charming for three days).
Yet, you continue to ignore the facts of this investigative piece. You continue to ignore the blatant financial shenanigans that O’Fraud is involved in.
What is this recalcitrance all about?
95. Mary Rizzo on December 14th, 2010 at 15:38:
Miri, if David thinks Ken’s great and effective and charming, it’s his view and there are others who feel the opposite is true. Respect to them all, they have their reasons of loyalty that go beyond sometimes a willingness to coldly and accurately view facts.
the problem that David does not seem to fathom here is that those who were doing the convoy either were totally unaware that their best contacts and messengers and press liaiasons were saying all kinds of things such as
1) confrontation time (including horrible and unacceptable scenarios about deaths and firing on innocent people)
2) going ANYWAY into Egypt (and here David should tell us what lead him to urge us to act upon that belief)
3) needs to pressure people for things that (according to us) were said to be illegal, unjust and criminal.
4) needs to demonstrate due to our activists being held at gunpoint by SWAT teams….
OR they are NOW saying those things could never have been understood, much less by a close friend!
Was David out of kilter, or was he spreading the correct “missive”, seeing as how the word Kidnapping then sprouted up, with the contradictory versions of the Captain escaping with money (either from them or from Israel).
Is it so bizarre to wonder why someone is asking all of these questions based on THE MATERIAL YOU provided (David and the convoy people, and Ken himself with his photos that contradict his claims). These are questions that need to be confronted sooner or later, or one can bury one’s head in the sand.
96. Maryam S on December 14th, 2010 at 18:03:
I’m really fed up of this “Ken’s a good guy” stuff – either these people need to put something else out there showing just how “good” he is, or address the issues brought up in Mary’s report, or both.
Why not explain the “kidnapping” fiasco?
Why not explain O’Keefe’s rather dodgy-looking financial practices?
And, for heaven’s sake, let’s not pretend for a moment that it is necessary to travel to Gaza on convoys in order to end the occupation of Palestine. Convoys have their uses – if they’re done properly – but for all the money that is spent on them, perhaps the money could be better spent on projects that will reach many more people and inform them of the truth, not merely a canned zionist narrative put forth by mainstream media.
What bothers me so incessantly about O’Keefe is the grandstanding and self-promotion that I do not see coming from any other activist. We work behind the scenes, as support for the Palestinian people and their efforts at liberation – that is our function – not to make ourselves into stars or cult leaders who grab every microphone they can get and tell the world about what THEY are doing, how THEY disarmed commandos, how THEY are delivering aid to the Gazans, how THEY will save Palestine. It’s colonialism at its most repugnant, and the attendant psychology is rather discomfiting as well. This R2H thing has become Ken’s convoy – I see my Gazan friends having their photos taken with Ken, as though he’s Elvis Presley – and I’m disgusted, utterly disgusted at the big ego-fest going on. Having done an extensive study on antisocial personality and narcissism, I am alarmed at what I’m seeing.
97. Sam on December 14th, 2010 at 18:25:
@Mary:
Did it ever occur to you that the photographs of the convoy members eating, drinking, wearing life jackets and having access to a room on the ship were taken towards the end of their ordeal?
Dont forget they were on that ship for days….so when the status messages were being posted about not having the above items they were entirely factual!
98. Mary Rizzo on December 14th, 2010 at 20:11:
Sam, you MUST be joking!!
I have reams of messages, including ones from “after” their “ordeal” where they complain of all these things after the fact, including some that are totally false such as being KICKED. Shall I begin to pull those out as well? Many have seen them, many were very upset by them. They seem to also be figments of someone’s developed imagination.
why not deal with the material you already asked me to verify for you, i.e., the claim made on facebook of the violent confrontation and the belief that the border would be crossed without permission?
99. Christina on December 14th, 2010 at 20:54:
@ Samantha
Nice to have you back. While I am patiently waiting to receive answers to the questions I have posed in my previous post (correct me if I’m wrong but it is my understanding that you said that you will revert), in view of your last comment, I would like to add one more question please.
As per Mr. O’Keefe’s statement of events, the convoy members were 2 days at sea. The vessel left Derna on 11th November around 12:30am and arrived on November 12th in Piraeus roads (that is the anchorage area of Piraeus) around 09:00-10:00am and berthed around 15:00hrs. So, they were at sea, more or less, 34-36hrs, but in no case 48 hrs (i.e. 2 days).
As per one of Mr. O’Keefe’s pictures, there a 5 gentlemen wearing life-jackets, looking at the MV OOCL Oakland, which was nearby the Strofades IV (in international waters). Mr O’Keefe has stated that he made a distress call to MV OOCL Oakland. That distress call was made on the 11th of November (sometime in daylight). This picture was taken almost one day before the vessel even enters Greek territorial waters.
Why do you claim that the 10 convoy members did not have access to life-jackets until the very end of the voyage?
Thanks in advance for replying to this question together with my previous ones.
100. David Evans on December 14th, 2010 at 21:23:
Mary,
You and Mary Rizzo have done, and are continuing to do much good work for justice and the people of Palestine. I value that work, and I will continue to learn and educate others from it. But my take on the issue of Ken O’Keefe and your relentless attempts to undermine his good work mirrors that of Tim King:
Tim writes,
“Ken is far more of an entity in the world when it comes to the freedom of Palestine than almost any other active figure. That I fear, is what this is about. You write hundreds of paragraphs that are all about numbers and semantics. A shorter piece might have gone further, and that matters because there is valid information in this article and you are a good writer who I have always liked and supported. But the point here clearly is to bring Ken down and damage the credibility of Salem-News.com in the process, and it isn’t going to work. We were gracious enough to link to it in the first part of this article, and I suspect it will get more views via that link than any other source….”
http://www.salem-news.com/articles/december062010/think-tank-ken-tk.php
I must also consider this piece by Nahida, and these comments:
For 63 years Israel has continued abusing Palestinians and annexing their lands while the world filed resolutions that Israel and the US has blocked and ignored. Meaningful activism and actions by Arafat finally brought Palestine into the world’s consciousness. Intifada uprisings kept awakening a world that would rather nap and ignore, and in-your-face activism like that which Ken is promoting has kept the world awake and kept Palestine in the news. Finally the world is paying enough attention that changes are happening. more than 100 nations now will recognize a Palestinian state. Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and France are the latest, as they just declared within the week that they too, would join. The EU followed suit. If silent convoys continued slipping into Al Arish, no one would notice. Each action that gets attention is productive. Black people in the US and S. Africa would still be subserviant to whites if no one acted forcefully for change. Ken and RTH members are acting forcefully for change in Palestine.
ALL of us have dogs in this fight. All of our efforts are needed to bring justice to the tortured land and people of Palestine. I ask that we quit damaging each other so tthat we may hasten the day when Gaza and all of Palestine is free. Palestinians do not need any more divisiveness than they already have.
101. David Evans on December 14th, 2010 at 21:54:
Mary, please forgive a typo. I began the above comment in a post on facebook to your friend, Mary Woodward. Thus, the beginning address to you makes no sense. If you see fit to post my comment, please discount or correct my error. The comment is intended to be directed to you, Mary Rizzo. Dispite this disagreement, I still admire you and all of the work you have done for Palestine.
102. Mary Rizzo on December 14th, 2010 at 22:03:
David, if you are not going to address the point I made earlier, where I asked you about a very important point, (scroll back up and look) I see no need to talk about things in a rhetorical way to put down or to praise.
we are talking about a breach of confidence and reliability that WE activists have been caught in.
If we want to serve and not be served, we have to not commit these breaches. So, read it and comment on that, as that is all that really is relevant to the discourse.
It’s not about “undermining” Ken, it is about Ken claiming that he was kidnapped and using his story to gain a lot of attention and it was deflected away from Palestine and even from his own mission.
I think that Tim King and you are estimating activists far too much, as we are really not that important. At the end of the day, we are just a slight blip on the story of Palestine and we can never pretend to assume all this importance unless there is something dramatically wrong with us.
103. Sam on December 14th, 2010 at 22:08:
@Mary:
So your source for the convoy “practically claiming their would be blood” came from someone who was not involved with the convoy in any way?
Are you trying to hold the R2H convoy responsible for what others not involved are posting to facebook?
104. Mary Rizzo on December 14th, 2010 at 23:05:
Sam – oh sheesh.. there is a saying here, Ci sei o ci fai?
You asked me this:
She alo claims:
„One note circulating on Facebook was practically claiming that there would be blood if the Egyptians did not open the border“
Can you back this up please? A source and direct quote will suffice. Please dont use phrases like „practicaly claiming“ to distort the truth to fit your perception of what confrontation means. It was made very clear that any confrontation would be non violent
and I showed you exactly what I said in the article
http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=153618004680814&id=100000433418007
David Evans Embassy contact information is at the bottom of this article. Please call them. It’s the least that we can do for these courageous convoy members. Failure to convince Egypt to allow passage of the convoy may result in violent confrontation and the deaths of some convoy members and Egyptian forces.
In Limbo in Libya: Gaza Road to Hope Convoy Urges Contact with Egyptian Embassies – Salem-News.Com
http://www.salem-news.com
David Evans My concern is that if the convoy leadership may decide to defy Egyptian authorities and begin to roll into Egypt without permission. This action, I think, would result in Egyptian border guards dutifully opening fire on the convoy in an ordered attempt to stop it.
04 November at 18:11 • LikeUnlike
I SAID IT WAS A CIRCULATING ON FACEBOOK
I gave you the source and the direct quote. That this person was passing along the narrative and insisting that other activists must act in a certain way to avoid it.
Whether he was under this impression because he is friends of Ken, or because he was following every breath taken, I have no way of knowing.
I know what I saw. that hundreds of activists who are always glued to their means of communciation and at the request of others will call and demonstrate and do whatever it is there needs to be done were doing so based on this narrative.
I think that is utterly dangerous and damaging to our movement if such kind of stuff was circulating as if it were legit and the actual circumstances when instead it may not be. I complained about the way no one was doing any kind of rational checking of anything and no one was even aware of the lack of visas and we were hit in the face with that whopper once we started complaining to Egypt asking them to comply with law and humanity, and we see that they claimed they would have allowed passage if there were specific things that they know were communicated as required and which were simply missing.
The point, you seem to be missing.
105. David Evans on December 14th, 2010 at 23:45:
My comment regarding that there might have been violence follows. It is posted above, here in the comments thread:
http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=153618004680814&id=100000433418007
David Evans: Embassy contact information is at the bottom of this article. Please call them. It’s the least that we can do for these courageous convoy members. Failure to convince Egypt to allow passage of the convoy may result in violent confrontation and the deaths of some convoy members and Egyptian forces.
In Limbo in Libya: Gaza Road to Hope Convoy Urges Contact with Egyptian Embassies – Salem-News.Com
http://www.salem-news.com
The comment was issued in the heat of the moment, as tensions were rising. The Convoy had been stuck at the border for several days, and as I recall, they were wearing out their welcome. The atmosphere seemed tense.
I returned from work late that evening (I have computer access at my job) to find that I was being challenged for my comment, and I responded with this rationale:
David Evans: My concern is that if the convoy leadership may decide to defy Egyptian authorities and begin to roll into Egypt without permission. This action, I think, would result in Egyptian border guards dutifully opening fire on the convoy in an ordered attempt to stop it.
04 November at 18:11 • LikeUnlike
That scenerio was a POSSIBILITY. I was concerned for the convoy. I had already commented to Ken in other venues, urging restraint and patience. Nowhere in his public, nor in private communications with me did Ken express any desire to do anything rash or cavalier with the Convoy. Neither did he cause me to believe that others may act in a reckless manner.
What I said, while appealing for people to contact their embassies and consulates, was meant only to get people to act, as there WAS INDEED A POSSIBILITY, as had happened with other convoys, of violence. I wanted people to pressure Egyptian embassies into allowing the convoy to proceed overland so that that possibility, however remote could be prevented. I apologise if my comments offended some here, and for any alarm they may have engendered.
106. David Evans on December 14th, 2010 at 23:49:
Another typo – I have NO computer access at work. I mistakenly said that I have computer access at work. I know….like who gives a damn, Dave. It’s just that I would have answered challenge to my comment earlier if I hadn’t have had to leave for work right after making it.
107. Sam on December 15th, 2010 at 0:55:
Another one of Mary Rizzo’s blatant lies is that Ken was dishonourably discharged from the military.
I know for a fact that Ken received an honourable discharge.
Care to back up your claims with some evidence Mary?
108. Mary Rizzo on December 15th, 2010 at 1:35:
absolutely NO problem: source KEN O’KEEFE http://www.p10k.net/ken_autobiography.htm
After the war I was “ratted on” for using strength building steroids by a Marine trying to lighten punishment for his use of cocaine. Using steroids was and is a common practice among Marines; building muscle and bulk is rewarded and in many covert ways the use of steroids is encouraged, even though it is illegal. Thankfully I was not so stupid as to continue use of steroids for long; I stopped after the fourth use. By this time however I had been punished continually for my previous cardinal sin of exposing the abuse of power, as a result I could not have cared care less what Marine Corps ‘leadership’ thought of me. So when I was pressured by the Naval Investigative Service (NIS) to “rat on” the man who sold me the steroids I refused, much to their consternation. Once again I was not going along with the program. Upon telling my supplier however I was somewhat shocked to have him tell me to go ahead and give them his name. Seems he was fed up with the Marines as well and a discharge for him was a welcome possibility. Although I was committed to serving my full four years, my bad behavior had the good consequence of being Court Martialed (charged in a Military Criminal Trial) for ‘illegal use of narcotics’ (steroids). Ultimately I was blessed/punished by being discharged (made redundant) one year ahead of schedule, Bush Sr.’s post War downsizing assisting me greatly in this matter. Officially I received a ‘general discharge’ under ‘other than honorable conditions’; a discharge sure to be used along with other admissions in this auto-biography by my enemies as a testament to my dishonorable nature. This general discharge is actually a rare middle of the road act in my life of the five possible discharges and I quite frankly wish I had ‘earned’ the worst discharge of all; the ‘dishonorable discharge’ which comes with a keepsake certificate.
109. Robin on December 15th, 2010 at 1:58:
5. Drug Abuse
a. Commanders shall process Marines for administrative separation for illegal, wrongful, or improper use, possession, sale, transfer, distribution, or introduction on a military installation of any controlled substance, marijuana, steroids, or other dangerous or illicit drug or other forms of substance abuse (such as designer drugs, fungi, chemicals not intended for human consumption, etc.) as defined in SECNAVINST 5300.28 series paragraph 5.c), and/or the possession, sale, or transfer of drug paraphernalia as defined in SECNAVINST 5300.28 series. Commanders shall also process Marines who attempt to engage in any of the aforementioned activities. Evidence obtained from an involuntary urinalysis administered pursuant to an inspection under Military Rule of Evidence in the current version of the Manual for Courts Martial (MCM), or from a search and seizure under Military Rules of Evidence 311-317, or incident to an examination conducted for a valid medical reason may be used to characterize a member’s discharge as under other than honorable conditions. The procedures contained in paragraph 6304 shall be used when separating a Marine under these provisions, unless a characterization of service more favorable than other than honorable is warranted.
b. Except as provided below, all Marines (regardless of pay grade) identified for mandatory processing under the criteria of paragraph 6210.5a will be processed for administrative separation by reason of misconduct, due to drug abuse, on the first offense. Processing is not required if:
(1) The offense has been adjudicated at a general or special court martial, for which the sentence approved by the convening authority includes a punitive discharge (suspended or unsuspended), or
(2) The limitations of paragraph 6106.1 apply
http://www.girightshotline.org/discharges/misconduct/marines/index.shtml
110. Maryam S on December 15th, 2010 at 2:03:
I can’t see what difference it makes when the photos were taken – these people were NOT hostages whether the photos were taken “at the end of their ordeal” or whenever. Leaping aboard a ship you did not charter is not making yourself a hostage, it’s making you a stowaway.
111. xa on December 15th, 2010 at 8:57:
Remember, first of all they claimed that the only water they were allowed to drink came from the “back toilets”. It was a lie. An out-and-out lie. They were offered the same water that everyone else on the ship drinks.
Once that lie became obvious, I realised I couldn’t believe anything else these people said.
And when one of them started to refer to them all as “The Gaza 10”, I just thought that they were a bunch of egotistic showmen. The people on Road To Hope were badly led by these people. It wasn’t just O’Keefe, it was people like Tox Sharif, who until then was widely respected.
There’s definitely a willingness to believe these guys, because they were standing up to authority. But how can anyone believe people who are *sending text messages* saying they’re being held at gunpoint?
The first thing a kidnapper does, the first thing a police officer does, the first thing anyone who wants to hold you against your will does, is take away your ability to communicate. The *very fact* that these guys were sending texts, *uploading photos to facebook!!!*, posting to their profiles, all shows that they had full use of their equipment and facilities.
And one of the photos shows a professional camera bag. Why would a kidnapper leave you with your phones and your professional camera equipment?
Those who believe the “kidnapping” story need to look at the basic logic of the situation: Full access to the ship, access to the crew, access to mobile phones, food and water – cooked on the captain’s orders!
This was not a kidnapping. It was a very cheap cruise.
112. Mary Rizzo on December 15th, 2010 at 10:09:
xa, I saw things differently. I started to “doubt” from the very first (as you can see in the article) when there were the wild claims of things going on at the dock. Now, I just posted an excerpt of one exchange, and I have no idea what the banter was on Ken’s wall or the walls of anyone who was directly close to these people, but just with my own news feed, and the “word” was that they were stranded by this captain who hauled them on board (why he’d do that still was never even given a shadow of a question!) and he ran off with money from the Mossad. When we are inventing shit, why do we do that? Is not the truth about things bad enough and do we need to shift the whole tragedy onto the exploits of activists and what a tough time they have because the whole world is against them? Besides, where was there any logic to it?!
I simply communicated with a couple who were spreading this thing and said, “WTF?! This simply Can Not Be True! Stop and THINK!” Also because the same boat had just delivered VP5 cargo! There was no logic for it, and yet, this was one more of those big fish stories we were supposed to be “acting on” without any kind of verification. You might like to know that my appeals were “let’s wait and see if any of this is true before we start to issue alarms. Can we get verification? So far I see contradiction, this is not good. Let’s be certain – those of us contacting media – because we have a duty to be reliable. I was told that there was something wrong with me to doubt and to think “the other side” even had a right to be heard! I mean, this is ridiculous!!! Why not just toss out free speech and human rights if this is how things are then?
I am not going to speak (and haven’t ever spoken) as one who has superior knowledge because I was not there. People speak from the part they know, and you put the bits together and you get the picture, this is how it works. But I have been probably the only one, besides the Greek authorities, who has been in contact with all the parties involved and have gotten from some of them information. People who were involved (relatives of the Convoyers on the ship) were even urged to NOT engage with the one person (Christina Baseos) who was putting them directly into contact with their loved ones and explaining all the details so that the amount of panic and pain could enter into realistic terms. She at least had the level-headedness to realise that assuring the families that everyone was safe was of utmost importance. And even the accusations that they had been mistreated, kicked, starved and held at gunpoint were all untrue and that their rights were at all times preserved.
I find it amazing how she was treated as if she were their enemy and had evil intentions. However, this is how some people think; unable to accept the reality of a situation and all of its complicated aspects, they need to blame others for acts and hope that people believe them, and they will believe the worst lies, but not anything else. It’s kind of a mental set that is problematic in all of us, we just don’t want to accept that things are not black and white.
So, I was already not accepting the reality of the narrative from even before the absolutely impossible things such as “we are not allowed calls and internet”… coming by way of phone and internet!!! There is a limit to every kind of stupid claim and this paradox alone should stand as an example, as well as the point you made about if someone is being kidnapped, they are not going to be allowed to communicate. More than that, the person doing it is not going to immediately contact all the authorities to ask how he should proceed in this case, and adhere to maritime law and to the instructions given by his own nation as to where to go. The convoyers should realise that there are recordings of all of these things. When asked how these things were documented, it was explained the procedure of radio logs and recordings, so I have no doubt that even though the Convoyers were permitted to communicate, the ship people also were using the communciation channels and there are documented records of all of it to prove their claims.
If there were no accusations of blaming others for some of the most horrible of crimes in peacetime, I would have just thought, ho hum, could do without more of this “we are your saviours” protagonism, at least they are getting stuff in, keep on going and godspeed (and as I said, those who live around here, who are constantly aware of the difficult situation of the seas re: Libya, have a certain “feeling” about how things can turn, and were hoping that things were under control. I mentioned in the article the ship that was taken by Libya on the high seas at that date, well, the article, – in Italian – has the maritime ministry stating that this is a serious and growing problem and the waters between Italy and Libya were a crucial and urgent matter and that Libya was using its navy to take ships to Benghazi and block everyone on that ship for an unspecified amount of time. THIS was the scenario that would have taken place had the Master not stuck to the principles of peacetime and not carried on as per instructions from his own Maritime Authority. If you read Italian, I can share several articles with you from a week ago, not a year ago, stating the emergency situation in those waters. The fact that those who criticise this overview FAIL to recognise the real danger that the recklessness of a few could have brought on persons and the movement as a whole simply mystifies me. But people are unwilling to look at facts!!!)
Also, this was not a good thing for any of the work being planned, financed and organised, if it would come to pass that we were a “walking disaster for hiring ships” still aware of how the flotillas being planned are having doors slammed on them, and this would NOT help, if the point is to have aid come in, after all, the only way it’s being allowed at this time).
So, I began to wonder: Ken’s been on the road for months fundraising for his CIC, his enterprise that will be a ship company that will do “free trade” between Gaza and Cyprus. Would it be handy to depict other vessels and hiring them out as unsafe, a danger to anyone at all, especially principled human beings? In that case, the DIY would become a NECESSITY for everyone?
I began to wonder big time after all of this. After all, he claims that it needs a startup of a million (but, as I have mentioned, I live on one of the largest fishing ports of the Mediterranean. I live among seafaring people and “armatori” – shipowners). A ship costs in the range of several million Euros, multiple millions including insurance and expenses, so I wonder how a person who is demanding free large flats and free solicitors and free accountants and free designers is going to be able to be taken seriously by anyone selling or leasing a vessel. I can only say, PR is not his forte.
113. Sam on December 15th, 2010 at 10:21:
@Mary: It clearly states he received a “General Discharge”.
Why are you claiming that it was a “Dishonourable Discharge”? I know bending the truth fits your hit piece better but please lets stick to the facts!
114. Mary Rizzo on December 15th, 2010 at 10:34:
Sam, you seem so concerned about Ken’s marine status.
Officially I received a ‘general discharge’ under ‘other than honorable conditions’;
OTHER THAN HONOURABLE CONDITIONS (including the court martial) is not quite:
I know for a fact that Ken received an honourable discharge.
Care to back up your claims with some evidence (Sam)?
115. Mary Rizzo on December 15th, 2010 at 10:36:
You keep calling it a “hit piece”, sounds vaguely familiar. Look, do your good work in Gaza, you struggled to get there and now should be concentrating on that work instead of doing Ken’s grubwork there.
116. Mary Rizzo on December 15th, 2010 at 10:40:
and PERSONALLY i don’t CARE that he was discharged from the killing industry he was employed in. What I do care about is that he wants people to believe he quit it because he had some kind of illumination as a peace warrior. He was in a situation that forced his hand, and he would have gone along for the whole ride if things were different. It does not matter to me, and otherwise I would not have mentioned it, but it’s the bending of truth and the hagiography, including NOT being a US citizen when indeed he is more one than even I am, considering I do not go there or use my passport and have been living outside of that place for decades. Far be it from me to turn it into some statement. It’s just a fact of life like what happens to millions and millions of immigrants around the world!
117. Christina on December 15th, 2010 at 11:43:
Well well, that was funny !
Sam says: “Let’s stick to the facts”
It seems that the definition of “facts” is unknown to Sam, despite that her favorite line is “I know for fact that…..”
So, Sam was either in the Marines together with Ken, or is a relative of him or maybe had a more intimate relationship with him in the past.
Sam started to comment under this article as an attempt to debate the contents of it, claiming that she has knowledge of what actually happened with the convoy. So, few people posed specific questions to her (with regards to the incident in Libya), she asked for some time to gather all details in order to revert with answers. Since then, all that Sam has done is sticking to every other info mentioned in the article that has to do with Ken’s past (except maybe for a short comment of when the 10 convoy members got access to life-jackets during their “ordeal”).
Sam, it is more than obvious that you try to divert the discussion to every other, totally irrelevant, subject except for the alleged “kidnapping”.
Unless you are trying to enlighten us by using the Socratic Method, i.e posing questions instead of giving answers. It is expected, since you were a convoy member, to give straight forward answers about what happened in Libya and not whether Ken O’Keefe was honorably or dishonorably discharged from the Marines.
I totally understand that you are not Ken O’Keefe’s spokesperson, but since Ken has chosen to take the “high road” (for whatever reasons) and not comment on this article, it would be great in the meantime, to get some straight forward questions from you, as a convoy member who was indeed involved with the facts, until Ken decides to come forward and give answers himself (IF he decides to give answers)
PTT has proven that no comments are being censored. All comments, despite of their contents, have been kindly published by PTT. All points of view are welcomed, whether supportive to the article’s writer or offensive.
PTT has given the perfect chance to EVERYONE to contribute to the TRUTH ! This chance should not be wasted !
118. Mary Rizzo on December 15th, 2010 at 12:41:
what i find epic (but not surprising) is the lack of self-criticism. I can understand that they don’t have an answer to the various contradictory things and even their own photographs negate the content of their written narrative, and it would be a sign of maturity to say, yes, there are things here that we can understand are unacceptable and contradictory. It is indeed a problem. On the other hand, you seem to take it out on Brother Ken that all of this happened, and we don’t like that, because to us, he is above criticism and anything he uses in all of his self-promotional things are good for the movement, they don’t need to necessarily be accurate, they create a mystique that serves the cause and that is what matters. You in essence are worth nothing and you have no right to even question any of this.
I could even handle the insult because I know I checked my facts and I know that I gave Ken every chance to contribute his own input and as you can see, he had problems doing that and decided it was not going to be good since it could complicate his already complicated “narrative variations”.
But what I see here is that the only persons offering a view of wishing to assume responsibility at all are 1) me, when I say that though the UN report does not name Ken and though it also states that no clear image of what went on could be delineated, it probably was Ken the “US former Marine”. I rectified that he was not called, as it would actually be absurd that he wasn’t, but I based all of my research on checking all the available documents in English and doing a word search for all of his name variations, and never found his name cited. As well, in the IHH report, which i also have in another language, and a Turkish friend came to read it with me, to check that the translation corresponded, his name does not even come listed in the passengers who had their property stolen category.
Not that it would not have happened, but there is NOTHING on paper and this is at the end of the day how things are done and documented.
The only other person offering some sort of apology was David Evans, who finally understood the absolutely WRONG and utterly dangerous act of passing along action calls seeming as though they were coming from one with personal contact and gave the idea that there was trouble brewing, distress and a risk of the border clash happening, with the violent, bloody and diplomatically disastroud effects of all of that.
This is what I had written! This was the POINT!!!! We activists have to be careful, accurate, aware of the implications of our actions and words and we have to not believe anything we hear and make actions that would endanger others. I don’t have any idea what sort of messages were going out to Libya and Egypt and all the embassies. I can only imagine that they were saying all kinds of untrue and inflammatory stuff. and THIS is terrible and it will not help Palestinians AT ALL!!!!
119. Felicity Arbuthnot on December 15th, 2010 at 14:12:
“Although I was committed to serving my full four years, my bad behavior had the good consequence of being Court Martialed (charged in a Military Criminal Trial) for ‘illegal use of narcotics’ (steroids). Ultimately I was blessed/punished by being discharged (made redundant) one year ahead of schedule, Bush Sr.’s post War downsizing assisting me greatly in this matter. Officially I received a ‘general discharge’ under ‘other than honorable conditions’; a discharge sure to be used along with other admissions in this auto-biography by my enemies as a testament to my dishonorable nature. This general discharge is actually a rare middle of the road act in my life of the five possible discharges and I quite frankly wish I had ‘earned’ the worst discharge of all; the ‘dishonorable discharge’ which comes with a keepsake certificate.”
All I read from Mr O’Keefe has been that he left the Marines in an act of conscience after the attack on Iraq in 1991. I also heard him saying it, in Baghdad, in 2003. Another day, another contradiction. Very confusing.
120. Sam on December 15th, 2010 at 14:27:
As I’ve already stated. There will be in internal review of the R2H convoy. This will be done at a time of our convenience. Some convoy members are still not home yet (myself included). In the mean time I will try to refute some of the many false allegations being made against us and Ken.
We are all aware that there were many mistakes made with this convoy. One of the major mistakes was trusting people who turned out to be untrustworthy. We live and learn. However this hit piece on Ken and the convoy is riddled with inaccuracies and is damaging to the good work being done to help the Palestinians.
Btw: I meant to say general discharge not honourable discharge.
121. miri on December 15th, 2010 at 15:00:
What is it about sychophants, Sam? You don’t even ‘believe’ the truth when it comes from your god’s own mouth. He’s got a gazillion websites, many of which contain his riveting ‘biography.’
In his biography, he states that he was discharged for steroid use, yet you attack Mary Rizzo for repeating what she has learned from ‘the man,’ himself.
Actually, one of the things about his bio, that totally fascinates me (probably because I’m so interested in the aberrant psyche) is how, even when admitting wrong-doing, O’Keefe always blames everyone else.
He took steroids, but it was because THE MILITARY WANTED EVERYONE TO TAKE THEM, and he was caught BECAUSE SOME COCAINE ABUSER RATTED HIM OUT.
Similarly, he wrote in his story of his involvement with the clusterf**k , complaining that he did not want to be the convoy’s leader, but that R2H was so incompetent, he had no choice.
Truly charming.
122. miri on December 15th, 2010 at 15:01:
Christina, Sam is emphatically NOT using the Socratic method, which either forces one to change one’s paradigm of thought, based on reality (of which there can be only one, universal — as opposed to a multitude of reality ‘perceptions’).
Sam is fixated on her various feeling states, and her digging in of her heels reminds me of Justin Frank, M.D.’s work of applied psychoanalysis, “Bush on the Couch.” You, and SuperKen’s world seems to be one of complete rigidity, ‘exceptionalism,’ and narcissism (the latter to involves projection on your part, to King Tatt, who can do no wrong, even though he’s still scamming $$ for the electronic equipment purloined by the Israeli commandos; even though he contradicts himself so often as to have proven himself a liar, ten times over).
During Kennykin’s convoy adventure, stuffed with pathos and bathos, I was glued to the R2H wall, and found myself utterly appalled by the mob mentality of collective hysteria, and the insane assaults on Christina Baseos. The obcene name-calling she endured — before being censored, btw — was chilling, and those assaulting her did so with such vehemance that I can only imagine were this angry mob physically in a room with her, it would have literally torn her limb from limb.
Hmm. Perhaps this IS Socratic, after all…
123. Mary Rizzo on December 15th, 2010 at 15:03:
Sam… good that there will be an internal review. It would also be important for anyone involved in any way and that includes those like hundreds of PTT readers and thousands of FB users, to get due accountability, because we were pushed to do things based on faulty information and sometimes this brings about consequences.
You keep calling it a hit piece, when as a matter of fact, I don’t see that there are any real evidences to disprove anything in it and almost all the sources were direct quotes from Ken and RTH and RTH supporter content freely available on internet.
I believe that if any work is really good, a report could not damage it, unless that is a way to ward off any kind of criticism behind a veil of “we are above all sort of critique and anyone doing so is a Zionist or the Mossad”, which is even more ridiculous, because those kind of statements are tabloid trash that serious people know how to throw to the wayside and it sets a standard of discourse that is extremely low towards those engaging in it if they come out with no evidence, just smear.
So, now you can correct your “I meant to say” but instead you DID say… and I haven’t called you a blantant liar. Just someone who accuses others, when you yourself are in error. So the general discharge was classified as OTHER THAN HONORABLE by Ken himself.
So, before you start accusing, look at your own behaviour and turn your tone into a constructive one. Otherwise, we will all see that you are not contributing to anything than just a blind rooting squad with lack of critical thinking skills.
124. Mary Rizzo on December 15th, 2010 at 15:11:
and, to open the discourse to the most important element:
it is not going to be hard for you to prove (if it exists) that a contract for hire of that vessel existed.
this is the only thing that gave rights to even be on that ship.
you should also explain, straight away, why you believe that there were so many convoy members on that dock if even the negotiations allowed a total of 30 passengers, and Ellie had messaged that very evening that ALL of you would be boarding, and this indeed was also verified that all believed they would board that ship on that night. This gave rise to the atmosphere where the Captain had reason as well to believe that intentions were not as stated in the negotiations.
Also, very important: why did Ken say in his interview in Athens, We could have managed to take over the ship.
Is that just bravado, or is that in some way indicative of the atmosphere which made “negotiations” impossible and a normal commercial transaction questionable? Further, what kind of statement is this for a person to make who wishes that further convoys will be allowed, in some way? Is it a reckless comment or is it instead a comment that indicates that activist groups are not following specific guidelines of legality?
125. Mary Rizzo on December 15th, 2010 at 15:51:
Miri, I think that your valid points of discourse and the depth of your argumentation get completely lost when you allow yourself to engage in name calling of Ken such as Kennykins and Super Ken. It is a type of discourse that seriously should be left to those who don’t have enough valid arguments and avoid responding to the important questions. Questions such as the reason for such contradictions that they used the body of the activist movement to further, lacking in any kind of necessary accountability to us and responsibility to their own mission. Especially the core question: the proof that there has been a kidnapping and the lack of problem of the leader being determined to cause an international crisis by making emergency SOS calls when he knows that all the authorities were fully aware that the ship was being instructed and monitored by all the competent authorities.
It is indeed the “image” of the leader that makes others think he is beyond criticism or that he possesses some kind of greater humanity, and in the face of his own claims that those who have worked with him view him as “the devil incarnate” and must have been just looking for a way to bring him down, should reflect upon the reasons why those who had worked with him have such a terrible opinion of him.
So, I kindly ask you to moderate your tone, so that the valid points are not lost in distraction.
One point I want to make about Ken’s leadership, however… He is a creative person who believes his position of leadership is what seems to make or break a mission, that loyalty to him should be the factor of primacy. If one watches or reads the transcript to the film about the Human Shields, one sees how he actually does do leadership, and it is certainly focused around his own persona. Indeed, at the end of the film, the persons in Iraq, when given a choice of trusting an Iraqi with their lives who they did not know, and trusting themselves to Ken’s leadership, they had no qualms about following the Iraqi. He was shocked about it, and as well, his very first deed upon entry into Iraq was to re-establish his own personal leadership.
Aside from the events spoken of by Greta Berlin, (also verified by others on that boat) there is a history of changing the course of the entire community according to his own personally determined one. This does not work in activism generally, though if people like a dictatorial style, and most do not, it seems to be that the judgment of one leader are placed on a balance against the greater good. Normal people always accept the greater good and the community good. Those who do not put that as a priority are recognised when they make good judgments (and praised for that) BUT ALSO WHEN THEY SCREW THINGS UP AND CAUSE DAMAGES: One is not only the maker of his good, but also the maker of his bad. Enough excuses!!! Acting like a mature individual is all anyone accepts and expects.
126. Maryam S on December 15th, 2010 at 17:48:
Loyalty should be to the Palestinian people, NOT to a particular activist, and I don’t care what kind of romantic figure he portrays – Ken is a cartoon, actually, he’s a stereotype white guy hero, and there is entirely too much attention focused on him, which is just plain wrong. The whole hero-worship mentality is just inappropriate to what we are trying to accomplish. I don’t like that it’s “Ken’s convoy,” that it’s Ken’s video, Ken’s article, Ken speaks like some kind of authority about Palestine, with very limited knowledge and mostly spends his time telling the world about all the great feats he is accomplishing for the poor, helpless Palestinians. Colonialism at its worst, it’s repugnant.
127. Mary Rizzo on December 15th, 2010 at 20:38:
the questions that had been raised were quite a few. This one was on the Road to Hope FB board, left by Asif Khan. I believe it is a valuable question and think that anyone who does not want to see innocent people accused of crimes or a group of sincere activists lumped together with things that they don’t approve of: These words show what the entire atmosphere was “standoff” included… which also begs the question: if there was NO contract, (as seems to be true, given that I was sent the documentation directly from Ken O’Keefe and what HE calls a contract is not a contract at all – how can they keep someone to something that is non-existent?
http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=165864870110954&id=100001836635512
‎”Leyla-Rubaina Hyda said that one vehicle had to be left on the ship, but they managed to get all of the aid it was carrying out of it.”
That is very odd. If they had time to take the aid off the ship, why didn’t they just drive the vehicle off the ship? Is it because, in Ken O’Keefe’s own words, they planned a “stand off” with the ship owner?
If they had time to carry the aid off the ship, how could they have been kidnapped? Ken O’Keefe said “the others jumped onboard, in order to get our vehicle and aid and keep him to the contract to take us to Al Arish. “
This doesn’t sound like kidnapping, does it? They got the aid off the van, but then others jumped on board “to keep him to the contract”? Doesn’t that imply that they weren’t kidnapped at all, but did it to force – indeed, to hijack – the ship to go to Al Arish?
Something is very wrong with this story.
many comments follow. FB members might want to check this out. Including those who ask totally legitimate questions being accused of being plants and zionists. See it to believe it.
Asif Khan Sam – there isn’t much I can do to prove I’m not a plant :)
I just genuinely despair at what I am seeing. I kept quiet for a while but they are STILL going on about being “victims” – one of them is now calling the group the “Gaza 10”, which is such an insult.
But you’re right about one thing – on the internet, no-one can prove anyones credibility. In a way that is my point. People are simply believing everything they’re being told from one side, and every single comment from the other side is either labelled “zionist” or some variation of it.
I could concede that the truth is somewhere in the middle, and that well-meaning people genuinely misunderstood the “rules of the game” when it comes to chartering a ship.
But I could only concede that if I saw the slightest bit of humility coming from Ken’s people. His wall is full of threats of legal action, of victimhood, and of making the story all about him.
128. Mary Rizzo on December 15th, 2010 at 20:47:
to those who don’t have FB (a friend just reminded me he doesn’t and won’t have it and asked me to copy the entire comments out.) I won’t copy them all out, but these comments are indicative of some of the situation, and why it matters that we are discussing this, though others only want to turn the lights off unless it is to smear me.
check this out:
NAME (brother of a convoy member) ‎@(name)
“MIND YOU OWN BUSINESS”
What? Damn right its my business! Its everyone’s business!
The minute a mission statement is made, and donations are asked for it becomes OUR BUSINESS! The minute that injustice takes place is OUR BUSINESS!… Sound like bloody politicians!
Get out of defensive mode, as you remind me of a cornered cat! Look at all the evidences from ALL parties and rethink your stance. This has gone beyond a joke, and no accountability has taken place from RTH. At this pace, the name should be changed to RTD – Road To Disaster!
RTH amateurishness in dealing with this expedition is really giving future humanitarian efforts to Gaza a bad name, therefore RTH needs to put its act together!
Also S, as a common courtesy, when someone is polite with you, you should also be polite with them – isn’t that justice? We are not at war here.See more
18 November at 05:06 • LikeUnlike • 1 person
S (name) according to troublemakers like you lol,
regarding your assumption ie the fact that you have donated does not mean you can get away with slagging trh off.
you also seem TOTALLY incapable of understanding that its not my job to spoon feed you.
And as it happens your claim that im in defensive mode just confirms that you consider your words an attack.
Well i agree.
You have done nothing but slag trh off.
Like i politely told you before MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.
As for the info/dirt you seek. why not wait until you have the ACTUAL information rather than GUESSING and making supposition based on your biased mind.
18 November at 13:01 • LikeUnlike •
S (name) having donated myself, i would not dream of then harassing, attacking, and trying to cause trouble for rth.
unlike yourself.
When trh chooses to update us im greatful and would not dream of stomping around like a spoit child demanding answers….
You will get your answers when others are good and ready to give them to you.
Whinging gets you nowhere.
Its quite plain that you ot on this string are Anti rth and are doing your level best to rubbish them.
18 November at 13:14 • LikeUnlike •
Name (brother of convoyer) I am amazed from the all the questions asked about documented contradictions from RTH sources, yet people are still in denial!
In how many ways can I say this…
If we ignore this injustice, then how can we cause justice? Shouldn’t this be one of our core principals? If we will just blot them out for convenience or negligence, is that acceptable? If a dear family member was to cause oppression, we should be the first to sort them out, otherwise our core principals are flawed! Do we not complain about Israeli oppression all the time? Isn’t it a sign of hypocrisy if we don’t examine ourselves, and whom we support before condemning anyone?
It is a time to take accountability for all our actions, and not just blame others for everything! If RTH will not take advice from friends, who will they take advice from??
Some sayings to contemplate upon;
The great words of Martin Luther King;
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“Accountability breeds response-ability.”
[Stephen R. Covey]
“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do,
for which we are accountable.”
[Moliere]
129. Robin on December 15th, 2010 at 20:57:
On the issue of Ken’s military discharge:
Mary stated in this report:
“Also, being an ex-Marine (dishonourably discharged for steroids use), while not earning exciting acclaim in most of the world, is considered at least by other ex-Marines as a “plus” in activism”
Mary mistakenly used the term “dishonorably”. Most lay people would not know this but even within the “other than honorable conditions” discharge there are sub-discharge statuses, some of which can prevent you from keeping your veterans benefits, other sub categories which do not prevent you from keeping your benefits. In other words there are many codes even under ONE category which are SPECIFIC as to which discharge a military member received. “other than honorable” is a general term, not a SPECIFIC discharge which one receives. Having attended the court martial myself of a very high profile individual who resisted deployment to Iraq who also received “other than honorable discharge” it was IMPORTANT to know which code he received. In Ken’s bio he stated he wished he had been issued a dishonorable discharge because that would have come with a certificate. Oh how he “wishes”. Does that mean he turned down the JAG defender he was appointed? Was his “less than honorable” discharge forced upon him like his US passport was “forced” upon him in 2003? Nonsense.
Now for “Sam” who first wrote:
Another one of Mary Rizzo’s blatant lies is that Ken was dishonourably discharged from the military.
I know for a fact that Ken received an honourable discharge.
Care to back up your claims with some evidence Mary?
Then “Sam” wrote (after Mary quoted directly from Ken’s own biography)
@Mary: It clearly states he received a “General Discharge”.
Why are you claiming that it was a “Dishonourable Discharge”? I know bending the truth fits your hit piece better but please lets stick to the facts!
To which Mary responded:
Sam, you seem so concerned about Ken’s marine status.
Officially I received a ‘general discharge’ under ‘other than honorable conditions’;
OTHER THAN HONOURABLE CONDITIONS (including the court martial) is not quite:
I know for a fact that Ken received an honourable discharge.
Care to back up your claims with some evidence (Sam)?
Sam wrote:
“Btw: I meant to say general discharge not honourable discharge.”
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Ken was court martialed. He had a JAG defending attorney appointed to him whose job it is to defend his client and to have the MINIMAL sentence given. Not all members of the military are court martialed if they are kicked out of the military! Please read at the very least the opening few paragraphs of this long article on military justice http://usmilitary.about.com/od/justicelawlegislation/l/aadischarge1.htm
Enlisted Administrative Separations:
A service-member’s obligation to his armed service continues until terminated. Generally, this time period is determined by the terms of the enlistment contract, but earlier termination may result due to administrative or disciplinary separation based upon specifically identified conduct on the part of the service-member.
There are two types of separations given by the armed forces of the United States to enlisted service-members: punitive discharges and administrative separations.
Punitive Discharges. Punitive discharges are authorized punishments of courts-martial and can only be awarded as an approved court-martial sentence pursuant to a conviction for a violation of the UCMJ. There are two types of punitive discharges: Dishonorable Discharge (DD) — which can only be adjudged by a general court-martial and is a separation under dishonorable conditions; and Bad-Conduct Discharge (BCD) — which can be adjudged by either a general court-martial or a special court-martial and is a separation under conditions other than honorable.
Administrative Separations. Administrative separations cannot be awarded by a court-martial and are not punitive in nature. Enlisted personnel may be administratively separated with a characterization of service (characterized separation) or description of separation (uncharacterized separation) as warranted by the facts of the particular case.
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“Basis” is the reason for which the person is being administratively separated (e.g., pattern of misconduct, convenience of the government for parenthood, weight control failure, etc.). “Characterization of service” refers to the quality of the individual’s military service (e.g., honorable, general, or Other Than Honorable).
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Sam meant to say “General discharge, not honorable discharge” “Sam” sorry, “general discharge” can mean BOTH categories, honorable AND under other than honorable conditions. But the final outcome according to what Ken wrote was a “rare middle of the road act in my life”-he claims he wanted that “dishonorable” Maybe that was the fault of someone else too that he didn’t get what he really wanted!
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Now for Felicity’s comment: “All I read from Mr O’Keefe has been that he left the Marines in an act of conscience after the attack on Iraq in 1991. I also heard him saying it, in Baghdad, in 2003. Another day, another contradiction. Very confusing.”
Let’s read what Ken said in a 2003 interview for the BBC: “I left the Marines seven or eight months later – essentially I was fired when they were downsizing after the war. I’d had an altercation with my immediate superiors, having reported them for an abuse of power. It might seem quite trivial, but we were living on board a ship in the Mediterranean in summer and it was very hot.
My superiors had shut a passage so as to keep what little air conditioning there was in their area. They had no authority to do that, and it forced us in the lower ranks to go three times as far to get to routine areas.
The whole platoon was punished for what I did, and I had to look over my shoulder after that. A lot of marines would no doubt describe me a provocateur or a “bad apple” but to my mind I did the right thing.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/2664297.stm
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So there he says he was “essentially fired when they were downsizing after the war” and then goes on to tell a story of how he stood up to unfair military authority and then the whole platoon suffered for what he did which was also unfair.
Anything about being COURT MARTIALED for steroid use?
Nope, nada, zilch.
I would say that there is some pretty fancy use of the English language going on in the narrative Ken presents of himself depending on the situation.
Let me set this straight from my own perspective. It is not the fact that Ken got court martialed and discharged under “other than honorable” circumstances which is important. Everyone makes mistakes and military members get discharged all the time for various reasons. It is his “creative use” of he English language, OMISSION of facts and the story he CREATES which is supposed to give him cache as an activist, in this case, cache as someone in the military who according to KEN thwarted military authority as he thwarts authority on a daily basis and makes it his PERSONA. As for his supporters, they support him for THIS reason. He’s the ultimate “bad boy”, only in THIS case, the story Ken created for himself concerning his discharge from the military is found in only ONE place, no where else (I am totally open to correction if this is not true) Ken wants EVERYONE to believe he got kicked out of the military for a reason which is not true.
“Sam”, please note again that “General” is not true either UNLESS you give the specific reason that KEN states he was court martialed and discharged. This could help you if this subject comes up again.
130. xa on December 15th, 2010 at 22:32:
Sam, RTH pleaded for donations totalling over $100,000 just because you had incompetent leadership. I really feel for the people who trusted the leaders, but it wasn’t just one person who conned you. How come none of the team leaders checked that people had visas for Egypt? How come none of you had any actual evidence of this 2nd “al quds convoy”? How come you were all so keen to be led, none of you checked whether these people had the slightest idea about chartering vessels? Other convoy groups now have lots of experience in this – when RTH started posting about how it would not have “strict rules” or “admin fees” like other convoys, didn’t it occur to you to ask why, and to wonder if maybe the rules and fees came about precisely because of all the experience that other convoy organisations had in chartering, in administering and in obtaining the right permissions?
You suddenly asked for $85,000 for the ship, and then (despite RTH saying that the money was safe) another big donation drive for the flights. It was well over $100,000 that people had to donate, on top of all the money and goods they had given already.
In addition, there were calls for personal donations for the disgustingly named “Gaza 10” (Sam, do you really think it’s right that they called themselves that? I had so much respect for Tox until I saw him calling himself that – he has lost so much respect in the movement for his involvement with the fiasco).
What’s worse is that RTH has endangered another charity: “Human Aid”, a registered charity, which sent one or two trucks onto the convoy. As a charity, it handled donations for your ship & flight fund, which means that the UK authorities, notoriously hostile to charities working in Palestine, can start opening its books and examining everything it spent. It can even freeze its bank accounts. It will probably ask questions about why Human Aid volunteers wasted so much time on the border with Egypt and why it was involved in “confrontation”. We all know what the authorities are like. They will have had their eye on this.
This turned Road To Hope from a “look how much better than we are” convoy (and you can’t deny that – RTH’s whole marketing was about how you were “refreshingly” non-political and non-confrontational, unlike other groups), into a big emergency fund-raising operation which put people’s lives at risk, has damaged the movement, may inflict damage on Human Aid, and has damaged the chances of the movement to free Gaza.
Sam, I do hope you get out of your bunker mentality and stop thinking that there’s RTH on one side and a baying mob on the other. The truth is, there’s some incompetent and dangerous leaders on one side, a bunch of well-meaning people in the middle, and the rest of the Palestine solidarity movement over here.
131. Christina on December 15th, 2010 at 23:42:
@ XA:
Hats off !
132. miri on December 16th, 2010 at 0:20:
Since the van is being mentioned, again, I would add another question: Was there any actual aid in this particular van? O’Keefe has stated that aid was removed from it (instead, as Mary suggested, removing the van from the ship), but I’m having a difficult time imagining it, since the van is full of trash…
Xa, thank you for having a voice of sanity. I wish more activists would speak out. O’Keefe is just going to keep passing the hat until they do.
133. Mary Rizzo on December 16th, 2010 at 1:09:
Miri, it wasn’t me suggesting removal of the van. I was not particpating in any way on that forum, merely reading it. It was Asif who suggested that. Apparently, Leila later says, I “meant” in greece. (all these “i said this but I meant that” are very fashionable)
I too thank XA for his/her? comments. but my great … displeasure is the fact that RTH knows completely well that they have assumed a responsiblity, not to “me”, but to all the activists who they had involved (and ultimately to the Palestinians who depend a lot upon us activists) in the playing out of their events, and they are simply still not facing this duty.
No one will resent someone if they admit that they made mistakes, if they are honest, engage in discourse with a clear intention to rectify misunderstanding and work together with others. Instead, calls for integrity on their part were met with gatekeeping > ad hominem attacks which are ongoing > evasion of honest questions and substition of answers with diversionary tactics, and character assassination of anyone who dared to point out the enormous amounts of serious problems. The serious problems are leadership, obviously, but also the dramatic shift of focus, the money issue, the lack of logistical thinking and not the least, ZERO correct PR, crowned by the insistence against all evidence that there were 10 people kidnapped in Libya!
But when someone, rather than honestly confront and perhaps also discipline situations where there is malice, where there is abuse, where there is risk that goes beyond what is allowed, not only bad planning (serious in itself) but also in acts that can only be considered out of line if not criminal or close to that, decide to maintain the status of victim, of poor beleagured entity that is being harassed by others who simply should keep out of it.
Our seeking of accountability and responsibility is allowing them to substitute that same task they should be doing for themselves, and not “in their own sweet time” but as soon as is humanly possible.
There are many reasons for that, because we can see what convenience there is to pass all problems to the scapegoat of big bad PTT and the FB people who had questioned this matter at first with personal interest and total support, and later, being shunned for stressing the normal need to exercise prudence, due diligence and tact (diplomacy) and to create a more concerted and unified statement to the various parties and stop issuing a demand a day that was driving everyone out of their minds and making the entire thing untenable, while NOT resolving the immediate situation (the contrary was true) because it was creating new problems, we were treated as the enemy or even as Zionists.
That kind of tabloid trash has continued, and THAT has been the RTH response to all of this! They seek (apparently) to have PTT or VP or FGM or this activist or that activist take the heat instead of disciplining and publicly expressing the grave events that should be directed clearly and completely to where problems really lie, not who is aware of them.
They say, “unity”… but why? How can we have unity if there is no attempt to focus ONLY on the goal and that is the liberation of Palestine and the growing public attachment to this need and goal. By all of this “circus” which was not OUR doing, but the doing of those we very well know, the self-focus and the labelling of activists as if they were themselves Gaza victims of oppression is really too much after all, and no one can stand there and applaud that unless they have got the wrong idea about what it is REALLY about!
So, I do appreciate all the truthful words being spoken, I only wish RTH had the fortitude to realise that they must (and soon) take the task of being responsible and not pushing it off ot anyone else. They can’t keep using us to discipline when perhaps some are aware it is in order.
134. Ahmed on December 16th, 2010 at 13:53:
I am Palestinian. This article no good for Palestine people. We thank Ken and the rode to hope convoy.
135. Miri on December 16th, 2010 at 20:40:
Ahmed, have you read it, and if so, would you be so kind as to explain why you believe it is no good for you?
136. xa on December 16th, 2010 at 21:02:
Good grief, it’s a bit low when you get that kind of sock-puppetry.
137. Maryam S on December 17th, 2010 at 16:27:
Funny, I haven’t talked with any Palestinians yet who have an opinion one way or another. Ahmed, assuming that you read the article, I am also assuming that your English is sufficient to be able to tell us more about why you think this article is so bad for Palestine.
Personally, I thought the amount of money alone spent on this convoy was atrocious and could have been better spent. For one thing, Palestine is more than Gaza, and the incessant focus on Gaza take the attention away from the most important thing happening in Palestine – the resumption of settlement building and house demolitions, and I should also remind you all that the apartheid wall is still being built. Anyone who cares about Palestine is going to take these issues just as seriously as the situation in Gaza, which cannot be remedied by aid flotillas and ex-Marines with a penchant for histrionics.
138. Concerned Activist on December 21st, 2010 at 16:04:
I hope the blog owner will indulge me and approve my long comment. I never post on websites but this article caught my attention. I don’t know the owner of this blog but I must say I’m surprised someone had the guts to write anything derogatory about Mr Nichols AKA O’Keefe.
I just read the article and much of it covers various inconsistencies regarding the Road to Hope convoy and Mr Nichols rise to leadership or leadership take over and ultimately the direction the convoy took after he assumed control. All of that is interesting but I’ve had concerns for months now about Mr Nichols and what his agenda truly is. Is it to help Palestine? Is it to create a career that supports him, his wife and child financially? Because what no one ever seems to ask him exactly what is his paid job? What does he do for a living? Unless he is independently wealthy, he has to work to get an income like the rest of us. Someone has to foot the bill for him to be capable of doing all his globe trotting, first to Turkey to board the Mavi, then back to England for speaking engagements, then to America for speaking engagements, then back to England, then out to Libya, then from Greece to England, then from England to Cairo, then to Al Arish, then to Gaza followed by a month long stay. Not much time to hold down a job doing all this is there? Who foots the bill? Who pays for the airfare, room and board during these travels to all these countries?
What is his agenda and strategy? Could it be he enjoys the limelight and the donations he gets from his followers? I think most of us have more manners than this and believe funds raised for Palestine should go to Palestinians, not Americans to travel the globe.
Could it be he genuinely thinks his ideas and strategies are good for Palestine? Or could it be he wants to destroy the moral high ground that the Palestinian movement and/or the Pro Palestinian civil society movement around the world currently enjoys against Israel? Because right now, at this moment in time, Israel is the bad guy, not the Palestinians and not the pro Palestinian movement around the world. We are the good guys, we are the ones who continually keep the focus on Israel, the one true enemy not only of Palestine ,but many other Middle Eastern countries.
What interests me is Mr Nichols various strategies. His actions and their implications both present and future. I do believe he and others jumped on that ship, because from what I read about him, chaos ensues whenever he is involved. I was also greatly troubled at his continued focus and battles with everyone except Israel, first Egypt, then Greece, then Libya, then Egypt again.
First let me deal with his Egyptian strategy: Certainly all these Middle Eastern countries could act better towards the Palestinians, and certainly Mubarak and other Arab leaders are dictators and their governments are not democratic. And if Mr Nichols wants to change that then he should create a worldwide movement to tackle those countries and bring about change and democracy to their governments. I’m sure the world would thank him for accomplishing democracy across the Middle East.
But, if he wants to help Palestinians then he should focus on that mission, which is quite different from targeting governments of various countries like Egypt, Greece and Libya among others. Each of those countries cooperation is needed if you want visit Gaza or to bring aid to Gaza, if bringing aid to Gaza is genuinely your true mission? Because like it or not, they are all sovereign countries, with laws and borders and armies and leaders. And if you wish to travel through them then you do so as a guest and a foreigner adhering to the laws and customs of those countries. For just like Mr Nichols own country of America, there are laws regarding who can enter and what they will be allowed to engage in on US soil. And this is exactly why Mr Galloway is currently being banned entry into the USA. While I do not agree with this stance by the Americans, they are, unfortunately, within their rights.
Again, if Mr Nichols and his followers don’t like the leaders and governments in America or the Middle East, then make that your main focus and change those governments. But until then you have to work with what is there, if you want to help Palestine, like it or not.
As bad as Egypt can be at times, there is an existing working relationship between Palestinians in Gaza and the Egyptian Government. It is not perfect, but it exists. The Egyptian Government has allowed a great many convoys to enter Gaza since the invasion. They originally went by land until there was a violent stand off during a Viva Palestina convoy at the port where people were injured. Even after that Egypt did not stop nor ban convoys from travelling to Gaza, they merely required them to go to Al Arish and then on to Gaza. Egypt has an absolute right to keep 100-200 foreigners with vehicles from travelling the length and breadth of their country causing havoc along the way. Just like if a convoy of 200 foreigners landed at the American border from Mexico trying to cross to Canada. The US has the right to dictate both how and where that convoy may travel across its land. Every day people flock to the USA and are denied entry, perhaps Mr Nichols should focus on his own countries border policies before those in the Middle East?
So his strategy of pissing off Egypt, what does that accomplish? How does that help Gaza? Like I said, there is a working relationship between the Government in Gaza and the Egyptians, it is there, it has always been there. The Egyptian Government allows elected members of Hamas to travel out of Gaza to attend meetings and visit other countries on official invitations. Just about a year ago I remember reading about one elected member of Hamas who travelled to Greece. How did he get there? Only one way, through Rafah and then through Egypt’s Cairo airport. And what about those Egyptian tunnels? If Egypt truly wanted them shut down they could make that happen. They don’t. They don’t because not only does it create an income for some of Egypt’s people but it also is a way of the Government helping to ease the siege without being up front about it where Israel could then cause Egypt problems. Politically speaking the Egyptian government will do what it can without: 1. exposing itself to Israeli pressure 2. without creating a dangerous situation for Mubarak. 3. quelling the wishes of its people to some extent by being seen to help Gaza. . So, as small as it is, whatever falls into the space in between those issues of Egyptian security, Egypt will then allow. So the trick is to pacify Egypt’s security issues enough so that you can travel to Gaza to deliver your aid, if that’s really what your mission is all about, without destroying the existing relationship Egypt has with Gaza, and/or completely shutting down the only way into Gaza, the Rafah crossing, which exists on Egyptian soil and which Egypt controls.
So destroying whatever relationship Egypt has with Gaza will certainly not help Gaza or Palestine. So unless Mr Nichols is prepared to overthrow the Egyptian government and replace it with another, it is foolish to destroy what relationship it does have with Gaza and the Gazan Government. I think even Hamas would agree.
Continuing with Egypt, what could jumping on a Greek ship in Al Arish accomplish for Gaza and future aid convoys wishing to travel to Gaza? Think about this, there is only one way to get into Gaza unless you want to try to take your convoy through Israel. And if that idea is not appealing to you, then you must go through Egypt’s Rafah crossing. So, Mr Nichols strategy of creating havoc with a ship in Al Arish, Egypt, could effectively ensure that no other ships will wish to deal with ANY international aid convoys heading to Gaza out of fear or mistrust, thanks to Mr Nichols strategy. This would then translate into no more land convoys being facilitated at Al Arish. So, Mr. Nichols strategy of delivering aid to Gaza: #1 fails because if the relationship with Egypt is destroyed then Rafah will be off limits to Activists. Strategy #2 the actions with the Greek ship (which was the same ship that took Viva Palestina without any trouble) could effectively create a future situation where no ships wish to deal with activists due to mistrust and fear of takeover.
Without overthrowing the Egyptian government and without ships willing to work with convoys, then no convoys will get to Gaza via Rafah anymore using Mr Nichols strategy of attacking Egypt and creating havoc with shipping companies or attacking countries where ships are registered. If this happens, here is my question: will Mr Nichols take his war to shipping companies and the countries like Greece or Libya or others where ships are registered around the world? Demanding they return to their former agreements which Mr Nichols own activity and strategy destroyed? And will he then also focus on overthrowing the Mubarak government so people can travel to Gaza again after he effectively destroys the existing routes and ways with his so called strategy? If he cannot overthrow the Egyptian government in order to make Egypt allow land convoys to cross to Gaza, then here is another question: Will he then create a land convoy to truly challenge the real siege and go through Israel? After all, everything he said about Egypt applies tenfold to Israel. Because Israel is the country responsible for the siege. Why does Mr Nichols not drive a van to the Erez border and behave as he did in Egypt? Demand that he, like tourists, be allowed to freely travel across Israel right into Gaza? It appears that Mr Nichols wants to focus his strategy on Egypt, Libya and Greece who have helped convoys and flotillas travelling to Gaza, and he wants to totally ignore Israel, why is this?
There is only one siege on Gaza and Israel is responsible for it, let us remember that Israel controls 4 land crossings, Egypt only Rafah, and that is the only one that is EVER open to Palestinians (or activists) who want to go in or out of Gaza or travel to other countries, or to receive delegations, convoys and visitors. Without Rafah activists would be forced to travel to Israel and try to convince them to let you through, a comical picture emerges. As if Israel would even allow activists entry in order to make it to the border with Gaza. So let us now picture Mr Nichols convoy sitting at the Israeli border demanding to cross to Gaza, just like he did with Egypt. But again, perhaps Mr Nichols could also overthrow the Israeli government, after he’s done getting rid of the Egyptian government. Then we’d truly have a free Palestine!
So now about his war on Greece: This one I found very interesting indeed. The supposed kidnapping accomplished two things, neither one good for Gaza or Palestinian activists around the world. Like the fight with Egypt, it also took the focus off of Israel and placed it onto Greece, a friendly country to activists. Greece is a country that is strategically very important to the Pro Palestinian cause internationally, because this is where most international flotillas sail from when they attempt to highlight and challenge the siege on Gaza. Should Greece decide dealing with Palestinian activists from around the world is too much of a problem and wish to stop cooperating, then what? Does Mr Nichols want to stop the ability of flotillas going to Gaza via Greece? Is this is agenda? Will he then organise a movement to overthrow the Greek Government (after he overthrows the Egyptian, Israeli and American governments)
So using these brilliantly thought out strategies belonging to Mr Nichols would effectively destroy the working relationship with Egypt to end land convoys and destroy the working relationship with Greece in sending flotillas. So, then we can all start practicing our sweet talking to the Israelis to let us cross Israel to get into Gaza. Comical indeed.
Let’s be realistic, the goal of most activists in the cause for Palestine and Gaza is to ease the suffering of those trapped under siege, highlight the siege itself, and bring the worlds governments and politicians on board to change this. As unpalatable as this is, only our own governments can effectively make any real change in foreign policy towards Israel/Palestine. Political work is very important, political work is what always ends wars, political work is what always creates peace process and ceasefires. Perhaps Mr Nichols should return to America and lobby his politicians along with other activists to make a change in US policy towards Palestine and Israel. Then we would see real change because America can hold sway over Israel if it chooses to do so.
And in each of our countries we should all be working in this at some level. For our governments to do that we must work hard to gain their support, bit by bit and one politician at a time. Yes this is a difficult task but it’s the only way forward politically for Palestine. Creating violent stand offs and verbally attacking various world governments does nothing to help gain their support, or to keep the support we currently have, even as small as it is.. The support that allows us to travel through Rafah and to sail from Greece to Gaza must not be destroyed as this would cause more suffering to people trapped in Gaza.
We should all remember that right now helping Palestine is a noble and moral cause, to help suffering people. This is exactly why regular non-political, non-activist people around the world donate money for medicine, medical equipment and supplies to those people travelling on convoys like Viva Palestina and to flotillas carrying humanitarian aid. So it is very important to keep the regular non-activist non-political people around the world on board with our humanitarian cause for Palestine, those who currently give money to aid convoys and flotillas because they are travelling to Gaza on peaceful humanitarian missions to help human beings. The bulk of the donations are from people just like this, if Mr Nichols wants to move the goal posts by changing the strategy to include violent stand offs, threats and picking fights with various countries around the world when he does not like their laws or governments then I certainly hope that Mr Nichols followers can pick up the slack in donations when the regular non-violent supporting folks drop out of this cause because of Mr Nichols strategies and agendas.
Mr Nichols likes to talk about peace and truth but there is nothing peaceful or truthful in his agenda. I will now turn to his strategy for his Death ship to Gaza next year. Or to use the title his propaganda website the Salem News wrote “Announcing Ken O’Keefe’s upcoming mission to free Gaza that is certain to bring about change, one way or another” One way or another? This is 100% correct, because it will either cause the deaths of many people, which the Salem News Propaganda site alludes to in this quote: “The resistance ships will reach Gaza and not be deterred. Perhaps this mission will end like the Mavi Marmara’s, in blood soaked decks. But maybe, possibly, it will be the final proof to Israel that the world isn’t going to stand for their oppressive behavior any longer”
Mr Nichols speaks of Truth. I would ask him to tell the truth now, about what he tells people in his local speaking events across the UK regarding his plan to send a ship that will break the siege once and for all. His plan? To fill the boat with ex-combatants who will fight the Israeli commandos at sea.. And he says this with a straight face no less! So a ship full of former soldiers and people who are up for a good fight with an armed Israeli commando will cause Israel to suddenly lift the siege forever? Some how I don’t think the Israeli army is shaking in its boots right now. But, what I do think is that this is a very welcome gift to Israel. Because it allows them to now say that Pro Palestinian activists are not non-violent and that activists are now actually planning to be violent and aggressive in advance.
Failing the murders of many people sailing on his Death ship to Gaza in 2011, his insane strategy, or his agenda, just like his former strategy of shutting down land crossings to Gaza by pissing off Egypt and Libya, the Death ship flotilla strategy will effectively end the worldwide support we currently have for Aid flotillas and stop any more from sailing or having support. His idea is not about humanitarian aid or highlighting Israel as the aggressor, it’s more about sacrificing human beings stupid enough to join him and turn the world against flotillas. Because up until now Israel was the aggressor, the outrage the world showed over the Mavi Marmara massacre was only because it was, in fact, Israel who plotted the attack, and not the activists. But now Mr Nichols wants to change all that and show the world Israel is correct in what it says about activists. And yes, we all get painted with the same brush, what gives Mr Nichols the right to destroy the support Pro Palestinian activist have worked so hard to get? Given that he has no boat yet, and it could take months to get one, just think of all the time Israel has to spread the word that Flotillas should be banned because they are planning in advance to be violent.
Another quote from the same propaganda site: “Apparently the Israeli government only understands resistance, and there are few times that resistance does not become violent. The plans underway are long in the making, and will only involve those who are committed to ending this struggle of Biblical proportions, by placing their lives in harm’s way.” So Mr Nichols wants you to die on his ship. I think if the staff of the Salem news propaganda site are so enthralled with Mr Nichols they should put their lives in his hands and join him with his death wish ship. How many of Mr Nichols followers want to die for him? This is beginning to appear like some odd cult of personality like Jim Jones and Guyana.
About funding and aid to Palestine: Mr Nichols says his boat will be a game changer. It certainly will. It will forever stop the millions of peace loving people who right now pay money to convoys and flotillas to sail to peacefully challenge Israel, who up until now have been the aggressors and the ones planning the attacks. Mr Nichols wants to change all that with his boat. He wants to put the focus on activists instead of Israel, he wants to make sure Israel can paint all of us with the same brush, which gives Israel, it’s supporters and even Egypt and other countries the excuse to stop ALL convoys and flotillas heading to Gaza forever. This is his strategy. So why would he want to take actions that will shut down all travel to Gaza for all of us? How does this help Gaza? How does this help our cause? Who does he work for?
Which brings me to my last thought on Mr Nichols. Why does Mr Nichols do all of this? Why does he bring chaos to everything he comes near? Is he politically challenged, incapable of seeing the big picture politically, just plain stupid, or does he continually seek the excitement of being the dangerous tough guy and could give a shit about the fallout after he gets his thrill and fame boost? Or is it something much more nefarious?
I found it quite strange that in the USA white American activists who attend protests are being investigated by the FBI their homes raided, yet shortly after the Mavi attack and after being interviewed numerous times where Mr Nichols verbally attacked Israel and according to Mr Nichols, physically attacked 3 of their soldiers, he was able to fly right into America, not interrogated, not investigated, and allowed to speak across the Pacific Northwest and also fundraise? Either the FBI and homeland security are thick as two short planks, or perhaps watching Mr Nichols activity and followers could be quite important to Homeland security, either with his knowledge or without it. Mr Nichols would appear to be an enemy of America’s closest friend Israel, and Mr Nichols celebrity and media coverage damaging to both America and Israel. But he’s allowed to fly in, speak and fundraise.
From everything I’ve seen this past year, all of his actions, and his continued actions, have all had one thing in common, the capability of closing down travel to Gaza for all of us in the future, be it land or sea. All of his actions have been focused on removing support from countries that currently cooperate with activists. And now we have the Death ship being planned publicly with the premise of attacking Israel at sea. This reminds me that in every resistance movement throughout our world history, there have always been, and always will be, infiltrators. When things always go wrong around a specific person, there is usually a reason. When plans don’t go as planned, there is usually a reason. When something or someone seems too good to be true, it usually is
Salem News link
Death Ship Planned
http://www.salem-news.com/articles/december022010/gaza-bus-tk.php
139. shirley on December 22nd, 2010 at 12:59:
Abunch of ball busters who now want to argue with palestinians time for the ball busters to get on there horses and ride off into the sunset to try and take on the next injustice after all it ends up being about their inflated egos and stops being about the cause like some Uni student looking for some social issue REBEL without a clue mary Rizzo has her view of what will work for Pals but it is only her view
140. LanceThruster on December 22nd, 2010 at 21:56:
It’s comments such as 138.Concerned Activist – December 21st, 2010 / 16:04 and Mary’s moderation that fosters such participation that makes this site such a valuable resource for learning and understanding.
I agree wholeheartedly with Concerned Activist’s take and well-reasoned analysis of the pitfalls in potentially making the ultimate goal of what’s best for Palestinians (as best can be determined/decided by them) of secondary importance.
One forgets the Mossad “by deception” motto at their own peril.
141. Maryam S on December 23rd, 2010 at 2:18:
I’m a bit perplexed by Shirley’s comment, though. Ball busters? Meaning what, and whom?
142. Miri on December 23rd, 2010 at 4:45:
One of the things I like best about this site, is that there is no censorship…unlike on the Salem News site, or O’Keefe’s fb page.
143. Robin on December 24th, 2010 at 15:35:
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Dykusarov has said.”A group of members from the pro-Palestinian organization Road to Hope boarded the ship during unloading operations in the Libyan port of Derna on November 10. The vessel was blocked. Among the attackers are the citizens of Britain, Morocco and Algeria. They said that a cargo of humanitarian aid, which they planned to load, was intended for the Palestinians, but no preliminary agreements were reached with the ship’s owner in this regard,” he said.Dykusarov said that since Libyan port police officers and law enforcers had not provided effective assistance in resolving the conflict, the captain of the ship, a Ukrainian citizen, had brought the ship out of the port at the order of the ship’s owner, with Libyan policemen and unauthorized
persons remaining on board.
http://www.ukrainians.ca/hot/30232-ukrainian-sailors-from-strofades-iv-become-hostages-to-conflict-in-middle-east.html
Note the statement: NO PRELIMINARY AGREEMENTS WERE REACHED WITH THE SHIP OWNER IN THIS REGARD
This statement was issued by a spokesman from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry
144. Anthony Hunt on December 30th, 2010 at 21:57:
Who needs enemies when you have allies like Mary Rizzo?
Western peace/justice movements are plagued by this rubbish. Really, does it have to descend into infighting and backstabbing every time?
145. Mary Rizzo on December 31st, 2010 at 8:20:
Anthony, how about being a little more “specific” rather than that generic This Rubbish and “infighting”. As a matter of fact, lack of transparency and urging activists to do things that are strategically harmful to Palestinians is something all activists have to be on guard against at all times. We ask for simple things, and one of them is to not create false narratives such as “being kidnapped” when the truth is that there were a few hotheads who believed they had a contract, but they did not, so they became bullies and demanded things that they could not have.
Unless you have read the entire piece, you will also realise that had the captain not acted in the way he did, Ken and the other nine might at this time actually be still sitting in Libyan detention centres. And, his “SOS” also could have endangered EVERY chance for sea passage to Gaza.
Think about who is “backstabbing” and who is “in” the movement and who is using it to advance his “hero status” so that he can always be considered a survivor worthy of attention and money.
146. Miri on December 31st, 2010 at 13:40:
Mary, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the semblance of politeness you requested of me a couple of weeks ago, as a condition of being allowed to have my comments posted here.
At the risk of sounding a bit martyrish, I am really weary of the attacks on you by microencephalic minds. Just once — ONCE! — I would love to see one of O’Keefe’s sycophants actually state something of actual — you know, something that is actually factual.
Not a one of them can do it, which is why they are so infantile that they would give you ‘the raspberry’ were it possible to do in cyberspace.
You have not censored any of these embedded underlings of O’Keefe, but I do think you waste to much time trying to reason with them (didn’t Socrates prove that it is impossible to reason with sophists?).
If I may offer some advice, it would be to simply let them bray.
PS We who refuse to deify Mr O’Keefe have all been censored (ha, ha. So much for that infantile slogan of ‘TPJ’, which is more hypocrisy, or possibly “EXCEPTIONALISM”). O’Keefe deleted me from his wall because he could not answer a single question I posed to him, and I guess he was afraid I might stir up ‘his masses.’ Salem ‘News’ (with its pathetic embeddedness dedicated exclusively to O’Keefe, his burning bush type passports, his tattoos, his mom, his self-fundraising) blocked me, apparently in perpetuity, from commenting on any of their pieces written for the deification of Mr. O’Keefe.
147. Palestine Think Tank » Analysis Hasbara Deconstruction Site » Karen Nakamura – The Question of Agents Provocateurs on January 3rd, 2011 at 9:40:
[…] December 6, 2010, the Palestine Think Tank published Mary Rizzo’s investigation into the Road to Hope Convoy (RHC) incident: Truth, Justice and Peace nearly sunk as RTH convoy facts emerge […]
148. Analysis Hasbara Deconstruction Site » Karen Nakamura – The Question of Agents Provocateurs « 63 Years Occupation is Enough | فلسطين on January 3rd, 2011 at 10:59:
[…] December 6, 2010, the Palestine Think Tank published Mary Rizzo’s investigation into the Road to Hope Convoy (RHC) incident: Truth, Justice and Peace nearly sunk as RTH convoy facts emerge […]
149. Mary Rizzo on January 3rd, 2011 at 11:36:
Miri, I agree. It should also be clear that while this site has allowed all types of “abusive” comments towards me, my own comment (non abusive!) on Ken’s own site has not “passed moderation”… Of course, the guy is busy… but before they throw the rock… I would like to see my comment go through! (not likely!!!)
yes, the “critics” of this peice and me have yet to actually come up with an argument. EVIDENCE or anything concrete and factual. It’s sad that they don’t even try. It shows that their allegiance is to Ken or to RTH and not so much to “truth” and Justice for Palestinians.
150. Miri on January 3rd, 2011 at 14:14:
The word “hypocrite” seems to come to mind with exponential frequency, of late.
Yet, it is not accurate enough.
151. Joanna on January 3rd, 2011 at 22:29:
Please, from one conscientious person to another, stop this! While it is true NO ONE can be trusted in this insane world…cynicism and paranoia, bitterness and spite are counterproductive. While no one would deny Ken has an “edge”, he is an admirably “evolved” person…he is not an enemy!!!
152. Miri on January 4th, 2011 at 9:14:
Joanna, why? Please explain why the questions surrounding the financial dealings and adrenaline-junkie – like actions of one individual must not be asked?
Why, despite his childish (not ‘childlike’) “TPJ” initials all over the place, nobody is supposed to ask him questions.
He can tell lie after lie, till the cows come home, but ‘conscientious’ folk such as yourself want the question askers to shut up.
Please, tell me, also, if you would have been there shoving that hemlock down Socrates throat, because he also just wouldn’t stfu with his questions?
153. Christina on January 12th, 2011 at 14:23:
RTH’s FB wall has been “dead” for, more or less, 40 days. Yesterday, January 11th, one of the FB group’s administrators decided that RTH FB group should re-live the “glorious” days of November! We can see the repeated messages by the group’s administrator claiming that no one has asked questions directly to RTH with regards to the convoy and the incident in Libya.
Is that so ? Well, let us have a quick look if there were indeed questions posed to RTH directly. Let us count the attempts made to “contact RTH directly”.
ATTEMPT No. 1:
Road To Hope Official Website (http://roadtohope.co.uk/?p=129#comments) posted a press release on November 11th, 2010 titled “10 Convoy Members held hostage on Greek owned Ship”.
Herebelow, is the comment I had posted on RTH’s official website on November 11th, 2010, which comment is STILL awaiting MODERATION, i.e. RTH did not allow my comment to be posted!
The fact that the below comment never “passed” moderation, does NOT mean that questions had not been posed DIRECTLY to RTH. If RTH’s official website is not considered a DIRECT way to communicate with that organization, then what is ?
QUOTE
Your comment is awaiting moderation
Christina 11. Nov, 2010 at 11:02 pm #
FOOD FOR THOUGHTS: As far as I understand there are 2 scenarios:
First scenario: Activists claim that the master or the owner (who by the way are two different persons) have kidnapped 17 persons, while they have been paid $75.000 to execute a voyage from Libya to Egypt.
Second scenario: The ship-owner claims that he has been offered a freight of $75.000 to execute the voyage from Libya to Egypt. The vessel was waiting in Derna/Libya for more than 24hrs and the broker failed to submit a contract of carriage, let alone that money was never paid. After the 24hrs passed, the owner has decided to have the vessel sail for other destinations (other business) since no signed contract was submitted. Furthermore, the owner claims that shortly before ship’s departure, when activists realized that the vessel was about to sail, they have placed a vehicle on the ship’s ramp in order to prevent the sailing and at the same time about 15 activists INTRUDED into the vessel for the same reason and at the same time a few port police officers followed the intruders in an effort to keep the order. The vessel was at the initiation of departure maneuvers (Libyan sea pilot was already on board) and consequently the Master, at the absence of mooring men, has instructed the crew to cut off the mooring ropes (vessel’s property) in order to have the vessel sailed immediately in order to prevent the worst case scenario, i.e more INTRUDERS on board the vessel.
These are the two scenarios. Taking into consideration the above I have the following questions:
1) Have the activists boarded the vessel on their own will or has someone forced them ?
2) If we are talking about hostage, does anyone know what the ransom are ?
3) Who paid $ 75.000 ? Does anyone know the name of the person who paid this amount of money?
4) To whom was the $ 75.000 paid? Does anyone know the name of the person who received this amount of money?
5) If someone gave this amount of money to someone, obviously there should be a written agreement signed by two contracted parties at least for the purposes of this payment. Does anyone have a copy of this agreement ?
6) If payment was made by bank transfer, certainly there is a SWIFT copy issued by the paying bank. Alternatively, if the money was paid in cash, there should be a payment receipt. Does anyone have a copy of any of these two documents, SWIFT or payment receipt ?
If anyone can answer the above questions, then all of us will have a clear picture of what has really happened.
UNQUOTE
ATTEMPT No. 2:
Ellie Merton posted a comment on PTT on December 9th, 2010. For your easy reference it is the 51st comment, as shown above.
Pursuant to Ellie Merton’s post, I had posted a comment on December 12th, 2010 stating, inter alia, what a pleasant surprise it was for someone officially representing RTH to finally appear.
You can read the comment above, it is the 60th comment.
ATTEMPT No. 3:
In addition to my comment of December 12th, I had posted one more comment making it easy to RTH’s representative to answer, by outlining straight forward questions.
It is the 62nd comment as shown above.
ATTEMPT No. 4:
There are quite a few comments under this article from a lady named Sam. Sam claimed to be a member of the convoy and that she has knowledge of the actual facts. Further to various posts from different persons asking straight forward questions to Sam, she gave selective replies.
On December 12th, Sam wrote: “ There is an internal review of the R2H convoy taking place and i’ve no doubt that all will be revealed in due course” (comment no. 59 above).
Then again, on December 15th: “As I’ve already stated. There will be in internal review of the R2H convoy. This will be done at a time of our convenience.” (comment no. 120 above)
Keep in mind that these comments, came from a person who claims she was a member of the convoy, claims she has knowledge of the actual facts and last but not least, who on her own volition entered into discussions with numerous people about the convoy.
Attempts 5,6,7,8,9,10,11, ……..:
All people posting on RTH’s FB wall asking questions about the incident & the convoy, all people posting comments on PTT asking questions DIRECTLY to RTH’s official liaison, who also commented under this article, asking questions to actual members of the convoy (as per their own admission) who also commented under this article.
To cut the long story short, RTH’s FB group administrator should not complain that people have NOT been asking questions DIRECTLY to RTH.
If posting on RTH’s official website is not considered as DIRECT communication, then what is ?
If posting on RTH’s FB group is not considered as DIRECT communication, then what is? And I will ask anyone to spare me with the silly excuse that FB is not an official way of communicating, because from the moment the representatives of an organization use FB to communicate with people, use FB to post “PRESS RELEASES”, use FB to post “updates” of a situation, use FB to answer directly to specific persons, use FB to slander specific people and then BAN them from their group, use FB to collect DONATIONS for the purposes of a convoy, then FB IS indeed a DIRECT way of communication.
RTH’s representatives & administrators cannot have it both ways. They cannot use FB as a “marketing” tool and as a communications mean depending on the “case”. Either it is a way for everyone to be able to communicate with RTH directly or it is NOT. It can’t be both.
154. xa on January 13th, 2011 at 6:27:
Y’know, I think Ken is *still* in Gaza.
155. Christina on January 13th, 2011 at 8:49:
@ xa:
Why should anyone be “interested” in the whereabouts of Ken O’ Keefe?
156. xa on January 13th, 2011 at 18:20:
It’s interesting for this reason: Everyone who goes to Gaza goes because they can offer something to the people of Gaza. People know that Gazans will be so grateful for the solidarity, they would give you the last bit of food they have – so you make a point of NOT staying long.
The only people who stay after going to Gaza are doctors, engineers, builders etc. People with skills.
Ken has now been there for 6 weeks, giving nothing except the chance to adore him.
157. xa on January 20th, 2011 at 12:41:
From facebook, sorry about the formatting:
BY SONETTE ABOUD ROAD TO HOPE CONVOY OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2010 I decided to join the Road to Hope Convoy on the 23 October 2010 flying from Heathrow with 20 other “hopefuls” to Tripoli. The plan…… was to meet up with the convoy in Tripoli and drive from there to the Egyptian border. Right from the start things did not go our way. Our flight from Heathrow was delayed with about 6 hours. First I was told to be at the Airport at 10am to meet up with the rest of the convoy members. While I drove to Heathrow I phoned Mustapha in London, who told me to be at the airport at 12pm. Eventually we only left after 7pm that night! When we arrived in Tripoli it was already late at night and we were informed to wait in the arrivals area, while our visa’s could be sorted out. Mohammed came to welcome us at the airport. After several hours of sitting around, we realised that all the airport staff went home and that we will have to sleep in the airport and wait for the morning before we would be able to leave the airport! Some of the local people came into the airport and presented us all with beautiful roses as a welcoming gift; that was very touching! The Libyan staff were very friendly and helpful and offered food and drinks free of charge as we needed it. Unfortunately some of the Road to Hope members abused this hospitality to such an extent that they stopped all free food in the morning, and we had to buy everything we needed. I was shocked to find out that certain members of our convoy were taking handfuls of food and drinks just because it was “free”! We also find out that the reason for our long delay at the airport was that certain important documentation was not send to the customs before we arrived. They were not informed that a convoy will arrive, had no details of our names, passports, etc. This was an “oversight” of the London office and caused many hours of sitting around at the airport. Later that day we were taken to a very nice location where we could rest and enjoyed a fabulous Libyan lunch. The people were very hospitable and even took us for a short sightseeing visit to the centre of Tripoli before we had to get the plane to Benghazi later that evening. Although this was very enjoyable, it was not part of the original schedule. I was under the impression that we would meet up with the convoy in Tripoli and that we would drive together to Benghazi. Obviously this was never the plan because the convoy was ALREADY in Benghazi! We flew to Benghazi and arrived at about 1.30am in the morning at our hostel for the night. The road convoy members were all asleep when we arrived, so we only met up the following morning over breakfast. Kearan called a meeting to brief us all about the plans for the rest of the trip. Mohammed Al Haddad called his own meeting with the Bristol group who arrived by plane and immediately demanded that we each pay £1000 towards the Convoy expenses!
This took us all totally by surprise! He said that an e-mail was sent to inform us all about this and that we should have brought the monies with us to Libya! I never received any such e-mail and was never informed about any contribution ex……cept our own personal expenses. The way Mohammed “demanded” this money was very distasteful and made us feel quite uncomfortable. Dave Chapell asked him to discuss this issue with each member of the group INDIVIDUALLY and then we could in private discuss our contributions. Kieran briefed us about the convoy and we were told to get our vans in order ready to leave. While we were outside at the vehicles, Kieran made an urgent request for a collection of £12,000 for 2 white vans that were bought and had to be paid for at that moment before the convoy could leave. I could not believe my ears! How could they buy 2 vehicles and hope that they would collect £7000 in 1 hour!!!!!! (As Judith said in her report, why did we need the vehicles if the leaders knew we would have a problem at the border?) At this stage I started thinking that there was very little organisation and that the leadership of Road to Hope is not up to scratch! People were handing money to Kieran from all over, they got into different vans to go to the nearest bank to get more money, and I was astonished when Shahid from our Bristol group gave them ALL HIS MONEY (£350) because he “wanted to be the first” to contribute to this wonderful course. I knew that he had absolutely no money left and that the convoy still had at least 2-3 weeks ahead! The one thing that really worried me was the lack of Aid from the Libyans. There were a few bags of clothes dropped off and as far as I could see that was the only Aid donations at that stage. I can recall that we were told in Bristol to not take a lot of aid because we will need the space for the aid from Libya. Our van was almost empty and we only had a few boxes of food stuff, Judith’s mom’s beautiful knitted toys and our own personal belongings. We were told that they collected about £4000 from the convoy members, the vans were paid for (?) and we left in the middle of a sand storm. The storm became worse and worse and about 20 minutes after leaving the hostel our van broke down. This event is fully documented in Judith’s report. I totally agree that this van was not up to scratch and we could have been in serious difficulties if it had broken down in the desert far away from a mechanic! The rest of that week we spent driving from reception to reception and although we had a fantastic social time with the locals, valuable time was wasted and we could have reached the Egyptian border much quicker! Although that would have made no difference because we could not go through it. I cannot add anything more to what Judith already pointed out, except that we had absolutely no communication from the leaders about what was happening! Eventually, after we demanded to know what the plans were, we were told that Egypt will not allow us through the border by road! We heard different stories every day, and at that stage Mohammed had left the convoy under a cloud of speculation. After a few days sitting at the border we did find out that: …… there was no negotiations going on between the convoy and the border patrol; …… that we were waiting to join Al Quds the following week …….that we are getting a ship to take us to El Arish the following week …….that Mohammed was arrested in Libya for stealing money, vehicles, abusing police authority,etc! The list goes on and on. I was very worried about our food supplies and also the water was running low. We were asked to give all our spare change and Libyan money for last minute medicine shopping from a pharmacy in the nearby town; so many people had no Libyan money at all. English pounds is really difficult to change, so a lot of people were sitting without food and money for a unspecified time! Ibrahim went to the town one morning with the local police to get some provisions for a few meals, which lasted about 2 days! I decided to leave the convoy on the 30 October when we were told that Al Quds will not join us and that the convoy will have to wait for a ship. I was absolutely gutted to return without been able to get to Gaza but I knew that it was the right decision at that stage. Ten of us flew back to Tripoli. Mohammed arrived on the plane just before departure to wish us a safe trip back and to inform us that he organised the flights. We were totally taken by surprise because we were told that he was arrested. In fact just before we left the airport building Ally sent a text to Adam to tell him that Mohammed was arrested by the Libyan police!!!!!! We arrived in Tripoli and all of us were booked into a very nice hotel and were told that “Colonel Mohammed” will be paying for our expenses! I must say I was very surprised that we we staying in an obviously expensive hotel and that it was totally unnecessary! Some of the members flew back the Sunday evening and some on the Monday but because Dave, myself, Martin and Adam had pre-paid tickets we could only leave on the Wednesday. It soon became clear that the hotel manager was getting anxious for payment and his original friendliness became quite strained over the 3 days that we stayed in his hotel.. We still did not know who was going to pay for the hotel bills. We had constant visits from Abu Bilal and his brother who helped everyone with sorting out their tickets and he also gave us information about another group that returned from the convoy but were staying in “cheaper” hotels! We could not find out where they stayed. The Tuesday evening before I came back to to UK, I went out for dinner with Adam and Dave
On our return back at the hotel (about 11pm) Abu Bilal and some of his friends were waiting for us in the lobby of the hotel and informed us that Mohammed was coming to see us. Mohammed arrived and had a meeting with us about the events ove……r that past week. He said the following: Kieran knew that the convoy would not be allowed to cross the border by land. That all convoys MUST get into Gaza by air or by sea. Kieran said that they should just arrive at the border and see what happens. That he, Mohammed, gave Kieran £12,000 to pay for the vans and that the money that was collected was part of the re-payment of the vans, as well as the £500 donations that we got. That he, Mohammed, was “fired” from the Convoy. That he was still negotiating on behalf of the convoy to get a ship, etc That he will sort out the hotel bill It was all very confusing and definitely not clear at all! At this stage the hotel had to be paid and Mohammed and Abu stayed behind to sort it out with the hotel manager. I went to bed and have no further knowledge of what happened after that. We left the next morning after breakfast and came back to the UK. MY OBSERVATIONS: I personally think that this convoy was put together without proper planning and forward thinking. We were all mislead about many aspects of the organisation of it. What absolutely astonish me is the fact that most of the people in management have been on several convoys before….have they not learn anything from previous experiences? It was very clear that Kieran was far from been in control. He kept his meetings and negotiations very much under wraps. Why? The purchasing of 5 vehicles by Mohammed was totally unnecessary and should have been discussed and approved by the BGL members before it was done! We must make sure that we buy the best vehicles we can afford and get them to Gaza within budget; NOT WORRY ABOUT GETTING MONEY TOGETHER WHILE WE ARE ON THE CONVOY! Road to Hope is not a religious convoy nor is it a predominant Muslim convoy! There are certain people on this convoy that behaved in a unexceptional manner because they wanted a Muslim convoy without women and “non-believers” as we were called. That should be addressed and be dealt with, not be ignored by management. We had a member who behaved in a provocative and unacceptable manner most of the time! Management overlooked this and never addressed the issue seriously. I was quite ashamed to be associated with him. There were absolutely no communication between members and management until we reached a crisis situation at the border! This resulted in many rumours flying around camp, very few true and many people totally misinformed about what was really happening. If there was a scheduled meeting EVERY morning with the CORRECT information on a daily basis, it will be easier to plan and prepare for unforeseen difficulties. Some convoy members came on this trip without the necessary financial backing to see them through a crisis situation. I know that there are people on that convoy as we speak who cannot fly home because they have no money with them. All expenses and running costs should be carefully monitored, recorded and budgeted for, so there are no arguments and last minute panics about paying for things. Donations should be used for GAZA and NOTHING else! Why are we using donations for purchases and Convoy expenses? Who keeps track of the outgoings? All the participating vehicles should have a basic tool kit, First aid kit and food supply to last at least 3 weeks!Each vehicle should be in a good road worthy condition. Why are we taking non-roadworthy wrecks to Gaza?This is not the rubbish dump of the world! Since I have been back I made contact with many people who are living in Gaza and they need things like dictionaries, educational material, proper medicines etc. We could get correct information from them before we go again. Each convoy members should be BRIEFED about what is expected of him/her, their duties and responsibilities and this should be enforced throughout the journey! Before leaving the UK each person must have a CLEAR understanding what is lying ahead. I also think that it is essential that each convoy member has at least £1000 for his/her PERSONAL expenses and to pay for unexpected flights, accommodation, etc! While I were on the convoy it became clear that some people had very little knowledge or no knowledge about Gaza or Palestine. They were part of the convoy to have a good Any member of the convoy that is not following proper rules and procedures must immediately be send back to his/her country. We cannot have people deciding that they will not follow leadership, doing their own thing and driving without the rest of the convoy! We are a group with the same aim and that is to get to Gaza and break the siege……with all the internal fighting, disagreements and lack of information, I felt like Gaza became a very secondary thought! Why are we continuing to fund this obviously doomed convoy? Would it not be better to give that $75,000 directly to people in Gaza for projects and the community?????? Why do we fund a ship with little aid and a few people to go to Gaza? More to the point, why is there an internet appeal for MORE funds to get these people to Gaza?????
Lastly where is this money? Looking at the Road to Hope website, there are all sorts of speculations and innuendos. Ken even had his own appeal for funds from his friends! Are WE now the charity cases? In conclusion: I think that there are ……far better, more efficient and cost effective ways to get to Gaza. In a previous meeting I have suggested that we freight the aid to El Arish by ship and then we could buy a decent truck/bus to get the aid to Gaza. Members wgho want to join the convoy can fly to El Arish from Cairo. Why do we have to drive 1000’s of miles with loads of convoy members for weeks on end, to get aid to Gaza? I can understand that part of having a land convoy is to have the awareness, but quite frankly there have been very little positive media coverage, except for the hijacking of the ship, which is raising interesting questions and comments. The awareness that we did raise have been in countries who are already on board! We must run a much tighter ship as far as the finance is concerned, and start fund-raising well in advance before the next attempt to take aid to Gaza. We need good quality aid and goods that are NEEDED so we need to get proper feedback from people who are living IN Gaza. No member of the management team must be allowed to buy any goods or items at random without a proper meeting with at least 10 members of BGL present. Decisions how to spend donations need to be discussed and voted on so we can get the best use out of the money available. We need a guide book on what every convoy member need to take with on a trip regardless of how we get to Gaza. Very few new people who went on R2H had any idea of what to take with them, myself included. Last but not least we are all working for one goal and that has to be the priority at all time! Bickering amongst convoy members and violence must have a zero tolerant approach and anyone who make him/herself part of that must be dealt with! Hopefully we could have another Aid mission in the very near future with a positive outcome.
158. Gordon Sturrock on January 22nd, 2011 at 6:18:
My criticisms of Ken here and elsewhere have nothing to do with his personality, I actually like him. But he and I are not in the same peace movement. I would call Ken’s movement the “armed resistance” movement. It’s failure is certain and will be measured in dead bodies, 9 so far.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SVS6qM_VFQ
159. Miri on January 22nd, 2011 at 11:20:
Interesting about O’Keefe still being in Gaza (and also how he managed to enter, and be allowed to stay, considering he’s considered ‘terrorist’ by Israel).
When he first arrived, he was passing his money hat for funds for his ‘video a day’ idea. Considering that memory cards are REUSABLE, I couldn’t figure this fundraiser out.
I’ve also noticed that there has not be a ‘video a day,’ and with the exception of the video on the little girl with a genetic neurologic problem, the few that have been posted begin with him interviewing himself.
What is he doing, and why is he there? As Xa has rightfully noted, on the occasions that Israel lets people in, they are either there to ‘witness,’ or there to do something (such as when health care practitioners are given permission for humanitarian work). Question marks about Nichols O’Keefe’s continued presence abound in my head.
He has been there for so long that not even he seems able to stir the pot of excitement any longer, among his underlings…
160. Anthony Hunt on January 23rd, 2011 at 17:14:
I’ve known Ken for many years now and I want to offer a few observations.
Firstly, though, I just want to say that the musings on Ken’s reasons for still being in Gaza come across as facile and snide to me. Perhaps instead of insinuating motives you should ask him. Just sayin’.
With regard to the suggestions that Ken might be an agent provocateur I have to say that the thought has briefly crossed my own mind in the past (it should when you’re dealing with the powers we’re all dealing with), but I was never so irresponsible as to actually air this fleeting thought in public. If you’re going to suggest such a thing you should have some concrete evidence, otherwise we should assume the accuser is trying to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt. You can never be sure about anyone (including someone you’ve married if we are to believe recent reports in the UK news) but I’ve known Ken long enough to be very sure that he is nothing of the sort. When you talk and argue with someone enough you learn some of the flaws in their arguments and, paradoxically, it is these flaws that can give you an insight into someone’s sincerity.
He certainly has his weaknesses, including a tendency toward the grandiose. But I would call him more of an egoist than an egotist. And when it comes to his understanding of logistics we can safely say he has some work to do. But then good logistics people aren’t exactly the best people to change the world now are they. But his inability to realistically evaluate logistics or utilise them harmoniously in his actions is, I believe, his biggest potential roadblock. Indeed I think it’s this weakness that has given rise to this post and the subsequent innuendo about being an agent provocateur.
As is often the case with controversial figures like Ken his weaknesses are integrally tied to his strengths. He has creative ideas for resistance and and is willing to try them. Does he want to go down in history for such ideas? Probably, but that’s hardly a powerful criticism. No doubt his greatest strength is his ability to talk and to respond fluently in interviews. (imagine if Noam Chomsky had Ken’s interviewee skills!). It’s this ability that we should try to exploit.
A note to Gordon: I think it’s misguided to call Ken a part of an armed resistance. Disarming commandos while defending the Mari Marmara doesn’t suddenly make you part of an armed resistance. Firstly, he and a number of people had it within their power to kill Israeli commandos. They didn’t. An armed resistance would have jumped at the chance. Secondly, the employment of different strategies, some of which may straddle non-violence and armed resistance have a long history in effective peace movements.
The South African anti-apartheid movement is a good example and I would suggest Ken’s activities regarding Palestine are more akin to these than Gandhi’s strategies against the British Empire.**
Nelson Mandela actually co-founded the armed resistance wing of the ANC but even he, ultimately, was part of a movement for peace, justice and democracy.
Indeed a denial of this nuanced reality is what lead you to the fallacious conclusion that Ken is part of an armed resistance in the first place. Clearly, by any sensible definition of the term, he’s not. Sure, criticise his strategies all you like but to argue that he’s not part of the peace movement is a distraction at best. There is a preponderancy toward this sort of thing in the Western wings of the peace movement; getting embroiled in semantic arguments about whose credentials are legitimate, etc.
If there is any single enemy stopping us from building a more equal, just and peaceful world it is us and our preponderance toward disunity. We need to stop distracting ourselves and get on with things in solidarity.
** As a side note, the strategy employed by Gandhi—and those before and after him—isn’t about avoiding all violence. The strategy is one of confrontation and of avoiding violence *against your opponent* (in a bid to bring about a change of heart). It isn’t a strategy to avoid violence toward oneself. The point I’m making here is that the peace movement, while very much guided by principles of non-violence, isn’t about creating a fictional absence of violence. It is about minimising inter-human violence and achieving a peace that will allow us to continue into the future without annihilating ourselves. Remember too, Gandhi himself argued that, while inferior to non-violence, violent resistance was better than cutting and running.
161. miri on January 23rd, 2011 at 19:42:
Dear Mr. Hunt:
Please forgive me for coming across as “snide;” “snark” was what I had actually been attempting.
Your suggestion to ‘just ask Ken,’ is an excellent one. In fact, I have tried that. I asked him several questions after this cluster*** hijack attempt, and the only ‘answers’ I received from him came via an attempt to bully me on my fb wall, while emphatically stating lies such as “the captain was arrested,” and then simply deleting me from his fb account, so I might no longer sully his reputation with my apparently rather annoying questions.
This Strofades IV ship carried the VP 5 convoy, without incident. Might that have been because payment was made by VP 5, and also because O’Keefe was not involved with that convoy?
Besides himself, who made O’Keefe the great white hope of the Palestinians under occupation? Certainly it has not been the Palestinians, himself, though he has not infrequently written that he has ‘almost unanonymous’ support of them.
From my readings of O’Keefe’s own writings, on his many, many websites, it is obvious for any with ‘eyes that see,’ that he is not merely an “egoist,” but a thieving, narcissistic one, at that. He has found himself a nice “Palestinian Cottage Industry,” remarkably not unlike the ADL’s “Holocaust Industry,” by which to continually line his pockets.
Do you remember when the massacre occured on the Mavi Marmara?
It was the night of May 31 – June 1st 2010.
Now, please go to his website, http://www.worldcitizen.uk.net where you will find his advertisement to “invest” in his gargantuan ‘flotilla’ plan (which is completely unrelated to the international flotilla that is currently being organized).
Press the “donate” button.
You will arrive to the Paypal account for “KEN O’KEEFE’S STOLEN PROPERTY FUND.”
I know of no other activist who has ever grubbed money for himself while stomping on the decaying bones of martyrs.
Almost nine months later, he continues to do so — with impunity.
162. Anthony Hunt on January 23rd, 2011 at 21:00:
It definitely was snide. There are other commenters here who I was aiming my criticism at anyway. They could ask him without encouraging your aspersions.
Regarding his ‘stolen property fund’ he had a laptop and cameras stolen by the IDF. I know him to have very little income (but that doesn’t stop you from insinuating otherwise does it!). And asking for help is “stomping on the decaying bones of martyrs”? Really, you need to get off your high horse.
He could certainly do with updating his website or paypal. Like I said… logistics.
I don’t blame him for not wanting to talk to you. You sound like a sad obsessed little person to me.
163. Christina on January 24th, 2011 at 5:13:
@ Anthony:
You wrote “But then good logistics people aren’t exactly the best people to change the world now are they.”
True! Logistics people are not the ones who will change the world. However, a leader (either of a convoy or a project or a company or whatever) who is aware of his weaknesses seeks advice from the experts or even hires them. It’s impossible for a leader to have expertise/knowledge in each & every task involved in a project. That is why the leader forms a group of people, each being an expert in a different field. The problem arises when the leader believes that he has the skills & knowledge to cover all aspects of a project by himself and also when he is unwilling or incapable of functioning within a team and do team-work. An example is the VP5 convoy, which used people with expertise & knowledge in order to carry out the various tasks.
“Leadership” is something that inspires unity, admission and respect and this is something that is earned and certainly not enforced within a team. Allow me to clarify that I exclude all hot-heated, fanatic, blind and infirm “followers”, who run behind any leader, regardless if this leader is a religious leader or a political leader or a football team’s leader or an army officer, etc.
I have noticed that various commentators of this article have a peculiar way of stating their opinions. They seem to follow a pattern of “us and Ken” as well as “Ken and convoy”. This pattern may lead to personality cult and I wonder what is next? “Ken and RTH” or “Ken & flotilla” or maybe “Ken & Palestine” ?
I am dealing with Ken O’Keefe, here, in his capacity as the convoy’s leader and not on a personal level. He might be the most joyful man to hang out with, but here I can only state my opinion(s) about him as the convoy’s leader, since this was his “title”.
With regards to the weakness of Ken O’ Keefe in logistics, I believe that this is not his only weakness as a leader. I believe you have read the article above and I am in hope that you have also read the various journals written by RTH’s convoy members (these journals can all be found in the internet). People who have actual, direct and full knowledge of the events have all admitted that the convoy’s operations were a fiasco.
Ken O’Keefe, together with 9 more convoy members, boarded the MV Strofades IV, without permission. They boarded the vessel without having any contractual agreement in force for the charter of the vessel . It is very important to keep in mind that Ken O’Keefe had knowledge of the fact that there was no agreement whatsoever. After boarding the vessel, always without permission, he denied to disembark despite the repetitive orders given by the vessel’s Master to do so. When the vessel initiated sailing maneuverings another 9 members of the convoy literally jumped on the vessel’s ramp and joined Ken O’Keefe. All 10 of them kept denying to disembark. From the moment the vessel sailed from Derna and up to this moment, Ken O’Keefe passionately claims that he was kidnapped.
Either Ken O’Keefe knows very well that he was NOT kidnapped, ergo he is lying or he truly believes that he was actually kidnapped, therefore his judgment is questionable.
In the former case, he is incompetent as a leader and in the latter he is dangerous.
Another imperative virtue of a leader is to acknowledge his mistakes and take all necessary actions to rectify them. I accept, in good faith, what you say that Ken O’Keefe has not updated his website regarding the “stolen property fund” due to his poor logistics skills. However, since this negligence of his has been brought to his attention almost 2 months now, he should have rectified it spit spot.
An additional skill required by a leader is to have “diplomatic” manners at certain occasions. It’s not wise to publicly call a country’s political leader a dictator and a Zionist, regardless if this is true or not, when at the same time you need this country’s permission to cross its borders and also need issuance of Visas for all convoy members. When you do so, you jeopardize the whole convoy’s mission, let alone the mission of the future convoys.
You mention that “his greatest strength is his ability to talk “.
Although I am not amazed by his “interviewee skills”, it seems that he is likeable to some. No doubt that the rhetorical talent is a great advantage for a leader. What is of importance though, is how one utilizes this talent. Let us remember Winston Churchill but also, let us never forget Adolf Hitler.
Last but not least, it’s not a weakness for someone to not have the required “leadership” skills. In large movements, the success of a mission depends mostly on the members & volunteers and not on their leader. It is easier to appoint or replace one leader than to find or replace 500 or 1000 members and volunteers. I truly believe that Ken O’Keefe could probably offer much more as a volunteer or member of a movement rather than a leader. And even if he has some sort of problem with authority or team-work, he can always offer much to the cause as a freelancer. He can just take interviews from Palestinians, make videos & report from Gaza, become the new Michael Moore of Near East or organize events for Palestine.
164. Anthony Hunt on January 24th, 2011 at 8:25:
Would that be the same Winston Churchill that first gassed the Kurds? No thanks, I won’t be remembering him either.
“An additional skill required by a leader is to have “diplomatic” manners at certain occasions. It’s not wise to publicly call a country’s political leader a dictator and a Zionist …”
Some things are more important than immediate logistics Christina.
165. Mary Rizzo on January 24th, 2011 at 9:32:
if your task is getting an “aid convoy through”, logistics are the first, second and third most crucial matter. Nothing else has priority in that moment.
166. Gordon Sturrock on January 24th, 2011 at 14:18:
Regarding the claim made above, “Gandhi himself argued that, while inferior to non-violence, violent resistance was better than cutting and running”, this is highly misleading because it leaves off a third option, the Gandi way, documented below:
Gordon
source: http://www.mkgandhi.org/faq/q14.htm :
Gandhi said that the non-violent activist, like any soldier, had to be ready to die for the cause. And in fact, during India’s struggle for independence, hundreds of Indians were killed by the British.
The difference was that the non-violent activist, while willing to die, was never willing to kill.
Gandhi pointed out three possible responses to oppression and injustice. One he described as the coward’s way: to accept the wrong or run away from it. The second option was to stand and fight by force of arms. Gandhi said this was better than acceptance or running away.
But the third way, he said, was best of all and required the most courage to stand and fight solely by non-violent means.
Source: Mahatma Gandhi and His Myths- By Mark Shepard
167. maryam on January 24th, 2011 at 15:37:
Don’t be sidetracked by asking whether we should even be discussing Gandhi in the same breath as our discussion on O’Keefe. O, please, let’s not go there.
Nuts and bolts – horrendously poor judgment in putting together and executing the R2H convoy operations. Lying about being kidnapped. Wasting donor money in large amounts. Financial unaccountability. Now, by his own admission on Facebook, he’s associating with an admitted Freemason, a photographer whose projects include soft core porn. I’m not holding my breath waiting for O’Keefe to impress me.
168. miri on January 24th, 2011 at 19:15:
Clarification for Mr Hunt: “Snark” is more severe than “snide,” and I’m sorry it was merely perceived as the latter.
Once again, though, an O’Keefe friend ignores fraud, other forms of theft by deception, lying, attempted piracy which nearly led to a very bad international incident, etc., etc., ad nauseum ad infinitum, to come on board, and give lessons in politeness.
Bravo, Sir.
169. Christina on January 25th, 2011 at 12:19:
“Some things are more important than immediate logistics”
What things? Acts of symbolism? Raising awareness about the tyrannical regimes of various countries? Showing solidarity to the oppressed people of any country having a dictator?
Yes, some things are more important than logistics, immediate or not.
But there is a time & place for everything.
Organizing a freedom flotilla to try to break the siege is an act of symbolism. It has happened and will happen again.
Organizing humanitarian convoys shows solidarity to the oppressed and is an actual act of relieving, even to the minimum extend, the pain of some people.
Organizing events to raise funds is also a humanitarian act.
But when do all these things take place ?
Certainly not when the organization in charge of this convoy has shown maximum negligence in taking all necessary actions and arrange for all documents to be in order, A PRIORI.
Certainly not, when the organization itself, due to insufficient management, leaves the convoy members stranded in the Libyan/Egyptian borders for 3 weeks, grosso modo.
Certainly not, when the organizers have not ensured a vessel to bring the vehicles from Libya to Egypt and has not booked flights for the convoy members to travel from Libya to Egypt.
In situations where the success of a convoy depends on voluntary work offered by numerous people, logistics (immediate or not) and documentation, time is of the essence and actions to rectify the mess have to be taken immediately.
The convoy’s leader either ostentatiously ignored a country’s prevailing regulations and decided not to abide with the rules, hence demand crossing of the borders or the leader was not aware of the regulations and when the convoy arrived at the borders, they were all caught by surprise.
In both cases, the organizers & the leader did not show due diligence.
So, you have a group of 100+ people, carrying aid worth of several hundred pounds, stranded in North Africa and there are 2 solutions only:
a) To make all necessary arrangements to immediately charter a vessel & book flights for the people to fly from Libya to Egypt
b) To “camp” in the borders DEMANDING crossing and land passage, by alerting the world to contact all Egyptian embassies & demand from everyone to lobby the Egyptian government.
Evidently, the leader chose the second solution. “Immediate logistics” according to the leader’s judgment were not “important” and imperative at that point of time and decided to act alternatively. I presume that being stranded for 3 weeks in the borders and demanding crossing was an action of symbolism, solidarity, determination, brave & bold behavior or anything else that is “more important than immediate logistics”.
What was the outcome? Well, history speaks for itself. After 3 weeks, the leader finally understands that Egypt will not allow crossing & passage whatsoever and starts taking actions of finding a vessel to charter. But when the attempt to charter a vessel was also unsuccessful and the leader together with a couple of other “negotiators” failed to reach an agreement with a shipping company, then the “kidnapping” fiasco took place.
Back to ZERO. Around 100 convoy members (actually, minus the 10 who were allegedly “kidnapped”) again stranded in Libya, no accommodation, no money, no light at the end of the tunnel!
The “more important things than immediate logistics” resulted to an incident that reached international diplomatic levels, a number of convoy members returning back home without fulfilling their mission, loss of money, loss of reputation, loss of faith.
So, logistics (immediate or not) are not important when you have a leader together with 9 more persons in Greece, 1 vehicle abandoned on a vessel, 29 vehicles on board another vessel which has reached the final destination of El Arish/Egypt and about 30 convoy members stuck somewhere between Derna & Tobruk in Libya, but “other things are more important” in chaotic situations like this one. It is more important to provoke the governments of 3 countries (Libya, Egypt & Greece) & call their political leaders dictators & Zionists, at the same time when you need them the most and you absolutely depend on them, in a last & despair effort to gather the convoy’s pieces, which have been scattered in 2 continents thanks to the leader’s skills !
170. Anthony on February 4th, 2011 at 14:07:
Today we’re on the brink of liberation in Egypt. And if the dictatorship in Egypt falls so it is likely the siege of Gaza will too.
It seems to me a few of you need to go back to the drawing board. Clearly O’Keefe had his finger on the pulse with regard to Mubarak and you didn’t. As I said, some things are more important than immediate logistics. Sometimes speaking out is more important than diplomacy toward the ruling elite. The Egyptian people have been crying out for solidarity in their criticism of Mubarak.
It’s worth noting, too, the tactics of the heroes in Egypt. Peaceful demonstrations, but ready to actively defend themselves against violent attack, just as those on the Mavi Marmara.
171. Mary Rizzo on February 7th, 2011 at 11:51:
PTT has been on record as criticising Mubarak and the REGIME since day one! Maybe you need to look back some! We have only supported the Arab People, their own rights and their aspirations. No western leaders need to tell them what is necessary! those who contribute here have been speaking out probably several decades prior to O’Keefe!

Mubarak in a cage

← ويلٌ للعرب  Aug 3 Posted by Politirature .

★ Limited but violent clashes took place between activists and a pro-Mubarak group of about fifty persons outside the exceptional courtroom in the Police Academy.
★ They took Mubarak on a medically equipped helicopter from Sharm El Sheikh hospital in Sinai to the courtroom in Cairo.
★ Only a limited number of the lawyers of the prosecution (our guys) were allowed into the courtroom, on other hand, almost all defense attorneys (Mubarak guys) were allowed in.
★ The judge Ahmed Refaat is well known and said to be clean but a close friend of mine lives in his building told me that he was a close friend of Mubarak and they used to play Squash (Mubarak’s favorite game) together.
★ Someone announced that the defendants are coming in, the courtroom murmured and like movies, the judge silenced everyone.
★ Habib Al-Adly made his way to the cage first, followed by other defendants and the two sons of the former president Alaa & Jamal, and Mubarak.
★ Mubarak entered the cage on a hospital bed.
★ All the defendants were wearing white prison suits but Al-Adly came in blue because he was convicted in another case.
★ The judge reminded everyone with the courtroom rules and he made sure that all defense attorneys are present.
★ All the lawyers began to tell the judge their notes and demands, those of Mubarak took the whole time and the judge was very nervous and unable to control the courtroom, the atmosphere became very tense.
★ Farid El-Deeb, the famous lawyer and his dream team were defending Mubarak and Al-Adly while most of the lawyers of the prosecution were unkown, camera slaves and the event was bigger than them.
★ Farid El-Deeb said he wants to bring 1600 witnesses to court.
★ A weird lawyer told the judge that Mubarak died in 2004 and the one in the cage is a fake one planted by Israel and USA to keep the conspiracy going, and he asked for a DNA test.
★ After the fight on the microphone between lawyers was over, Public prosecutor read out the accusations against Mubarak, his two sons & his minister of interior including ordering and managing the attacks by Egyptian Police on peaceful protesters and supplying weapons, live amunition & armoured vehicles for the attacks. He also listed the billions of Egyptian pounds that were stolen by Mubarak, his two sons and the billionaire Hussein Salem.
★ Mubarak and his two sons denied all charges.
★ The Judge decided that Mubarak stays in The International Medical Center on Cairo-Ismaillia road and said that the second session to be held on August the 15th with his two sons.
★ Habib Al-Adly Session #2 to be held tomorrow at 9:00 am CLT.

★ Dismissed !

Short analysis
Why did they postpone Mubarak’s trial to the 15th and not tomorrow or after tomorrow ? Why did Mubarak’s lawyer Farid El-Deeb wants to listen to 1600 witnesses ? Farid and maybe SCAF are playing on TIME, Egyptian people are kind and sometimes naive, we always forget and forgive with time, we always repeat the same mistakes, that was first. Second, they play on the boredom and rage of the “silent majority” in addition to its dissatisfaction from the revolutionary atmosphere and the “active minority”. I do believe that the only solution is to be more patient than them & direct all our efforts towards raising awareness to have the “silent majority” on our side. To be continued… Mubarak and his sons entering the cage Mubarak and his sons denying all charges

Mubarak and his sons entering the cage

Mubarak and his sons denying all charges