Ken O’Keefe is a man who don’t take no one telling him what to do! After arriving in a country he hates (the USA) in order to participate in a conference in Mexico and do local talks in the LA area, he found out that at LAX there are mandatory whole body scans when one boards a flight. The full body scans have been the source of a lot of controversy, mainly due to privacy issues, but his issue with them is that they put stuff in his body – and he doesn’t want that. Yes. The guy who subjected his body to injections of ink in almost every visible part is freaking out (this is putting it lightly) about having to be like everyone else and submit to the waves that pass through his body to produce the image adopted for assessing concealed items on passengers, devised for security purposes and to substitute in most cases the metal detector and the full pat-down.
But, let’s reflect upon a few claims Ken makes in his Tourettes-inspired video. Exhibiting his unique ability to put “the F word” in all possible contexts, his coprolalia is meant to impress, since it is going to be “broadcast” and is supposed to make him look like a tough guy who takes no shit, but instead just makes him look like he’s having an awfully hard time keeping the histrionics out of his discourse, as usual. And again, as usual, he burnishes his “hero” persona in front of his outstretched arm and uses it to define the rest of the argument. Although, every time he paints himself as a hero, he goes into an incredibly annoying and undignified whine that sounds like he’s laying the victim thing on strong.
According to Ken, he is followed everywhere he goes by airport security, (as if suggesting he is on a no-fly list). It’s clear he isn’t on a no-fly list, because he would have flown out of LAX if only he spent his 15 seconds, (like the common passenger and the celebrity alike) is required to do simply by going through the scan box. He insists he opted out, subjecting himself (as he admits in his own colourful way) to a truly invasive and time-consuming and possibly humiliating full pat-down, but STILL, since he was on some special list, has to go through the scan and (dammit!) he shouldn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to do! What is this special list he talks about?
According to Ken, given that he was on the Mavi Marmara that was attacked by Israeli commandos as it was heading a flotilla to Gaza, he has been classified by Israel as “Terrorist operative of Hamas”. No one is denying the insanity of Israel to define anyone they want to as a terrorist operative, but let’s look at facts: in 2008 Ken O’Keefe entered Gaza on one of the boats of the Free Gaza Movement, and every passenger on those boats was granted an “honorary Palestinian passport” and was welcomed by the party that was governing Gaza, i.e., Hamas, and photographed next to Haniyeh. Ken of course should KNOW that in the USA Hamas is still on the FTO list (Foreign Terrorist Organisations). If someone met with a Hamas leader, that doesn’t even mean affiliation, much less being part of the group, but it certainly is going to be noted by immigration for a person who boasts about it as much as Ken O’Keefe does, and that means that he’s going to probably have to go through a body scan if he wants to travel in an airport where they are mandatory! No one arrested Ken, they merely informed him that he had to go through what 99% of the travellers at that airport go through on any given day, and if he didn’t have a choice to opt out, he simply would not be allowed to board the plane, probably on someone else’s dime anyway!! Cuz that’s how Ken ROLLS!
What is unusual, of course, is his that his protesting being subjected the scan has nothing to do with privacy but with the refusal that his body be subjected to the waves produced by the scanner. It’s a health issue, as well as being forced to do something he doesn’t want, which is a Mommy issue. Many millions of people who actually DO have health issues wilfully and gladly subject themselves to these imaging devices for much longer periods of time in order to diagnose situations within their body. The safety of the devices of course can be an issue for someone, why not? But it’s merely comical coming from the illustrated man! We all KNOW how safe tattoos are, don’t we? He drags into his victim spiel also the “sons and daughters” of America who served as soldiers overseas, like he did. It could very well be that Marines have been used as subjects (without their knowledge) in coercive chemical/biological tests, but frankly, what’s that actually got to do with his actual complaint about the body scan and why does he start in on vaccines in the midst of this rant? It’s as if he’s just so MAD, he’s complaining about everything that pops into his head. Soon we might be hearing he had too many lumps in his oatmeal as a child, because KEN FORGETS NOTHING AND KEN FORGIVES NOTHING!
But one little thing to be clear on is that Ken has a strange sense of entitlement. He claims to be a Palestinian, which is untrue. Just because he has a diplomatic passport given to him in 2008, it turns out it is purely symbolic and does not confer citizenship rights or even travel rights. As Amira Hass points out:
Some of the participants were evidently unaware of the fact that there is no such thing as “Palestinian citizenship,” since there is no Palestinian state, and that receipt of a Palestinian passport would therefore not confer such citizenship. Nor would such a document actually allow its holder to enter the West Bank or Gaza, since Israel, the occupying power, still determines who is permitted to become a “new” resident of these areas.
Hamas granted “diplomatic passports” to participants of the first three flotillas to Gaza, in the summer of 2008, but the holders later discovered the documents had no value beyond the symbolic. Three years ago, the PA issued a Palestinian passport to Israeli conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim as a gesture of appreciation, but this document, too, had only symbolic value.
So, Ken has a habit of stretching the truth a little bit and whining a whole lot. If he were truly Palestinian, he might not feel so damned entitled all the time, as if anyone daring to question him or make him go through clearance does it as a personal issue, all against him. Right or wrong, Ken feels so privileged he doesn’t bother to empathise with the millions who are subjected to daily checkpoints in their own country and in violation of their human rights… it’s all about HIM! Good thing for him he has a lot of people who don’t bother to fact check, don’t get irritated by his unbridled western white male privilege nor do they use some critical thinking whenever hearing his long-winded complaints and his “telling it like it is”. As long as he has his loyal following who believe he is going to “stop the endless cycle of war” by paying him to do so, “he’s good”!