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Aug-05-2011 13:42printcomments

With Respect To The 'Dossier' on Ken O'Keefe Composed By Mary Rizzo

Contrary to resolution, what Mary's effort accomplishes is continuation of this issue and the taking of sides... Solidarity Lost.

Ken receives the Key to Gaza from Ismail Haniyeh, Prime Minister of Palestine.
Ken receives the Key to Gaza from Ismail Haniyeh, Prime Minister of Palestine.

(WINDSOR, N.H.) - A lengthy diatribe [ ]composed by Mary Rizzo [12/2010] of Palestine Think Tank (PTT) regarding claims she feels are of major import regarding alleged actions of activist Ken O'Keefe (involved in the Road to Hope convoy of last year that met with numerous obstacles and negative press), is described as a “dossier” by Mary. In the classic sense, her overdrawn article is anything but a dossier. To some, this may be a minor point but I raise it here to address the issue of clarity and purpose.

What Mary offered is, accurately, a blog article attacking the character of Mr. O'Keefe based on personal perspectives drawn from her interpretations, both of substance and worth, of select interviews, biographies, Facebook and Twitter posts, videos, and media reportings. It is not based on any genuine personal knowledge of, or presence within, the events to which she refers. Based solely upon her research, and colored with an obvious disdain for Mr. O'Keefe, Ms. Rizzo assigns herself the position of prime investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury. I grant that she did request, of her readers, their personal response to her verdict in this trial by blog.

I leave it to readers to view the actual blog piece (as noted above) and the extensive comments viewable here:

I do not question Mary's commitment to the struggle for freeing Palestine. Likewise, I have no question regarding the commitment of Ken. Both have conducted admirable work in their own respective ways.

As a veteran activist, and one who has witnessed and become embroiled in controversies within a variety of activist organizations, my issue with Mary and her blog approach to dealing with such controversy, is that such an approach neither honestly addresses facts, separating them from personal sentiments, innuendo and aspersion, nor affords resolution maintaining the solidarity necessary for any activist organization to effectively carry on its chosen mission.

Quite contrary to solidarity, as can be witnessed by the numerous comments, what such approach actually creates is ever deepening division amongst the body of activists who look toward such organizations for guidance and direction. Contrary to resolution, what Mary's effort accomplishes is continuation of this issue and the taking of sides...Solidarity Lost. Played out in media, future possible activists are faced with having no unified structure to support them... and donors, so desperately needed, are fearful of lending their support. The movement loses... but more important, the Palestinians lose.

The reality of any movement is that strong personalities will arise and old guard will resist new methodologies for achieving mutual aims. Personalities will clash and ideologies will conflict. Perspectives will be misinterpreted and risks will be taken. All of this and more are natural expectations of any movement that struggles with seemingly inescapable odds against success... and this is aside from the infiltrations from outside forces that are also to be expected.

Organization within the movement is the most important factor in its success. This movement has clearly demonstrated poor organization and has, as such, met with more obstacles than necessary. In many instances, as was most recently witnessed by the usurpation of travel rights by Greece at the behest of Israel, greater organization (such as keener awareness of the dysfunctional economics of the region and not underestimating the global reach of both the US and Israel, among a number of other considerations not for display), would very likely have produced better results, Obviously, the Road To Hope convoy was plagued by poor organization.

Problems or concerns within an organization are best taken up within the structure of the organization itself and not in the media. An organization which has no mechanism in place for adequately dealing with internal strife fails as an organization. Within an organization, minor claims, such as issues over whether Ken had a US passport or not, can be dispensed with for what they are.. extraneous kerfuffle and the matters of genuine organizational concern can be appropriately addressed. However, once in print and slanted toward an intended bias, they stand to contribute to perceptions which are wholly unwarranted.

Ms. Rizzo's article is rife with such trivial claim as passports and pictures, unfortunately, and is nuanced by her leading questions and statements which are unacceptable in conflict resolution. Had she put her efforts toward offering an organizational review of her concerns, she would now appear more a peacemaker and proponent of solidarity. Sadly, this cannot now be said and the exact opposite can. In her attempt to paint Ken as an inflated ego, she emerges in much the same light. The movement does not need its media fighting amongst themselves with editor challenging editor over past military experience or allegiances and senselessly commenting on interviews with mothers. My hope is that she can see the damage done and attempt to stanch the bleeding.

To the Free Palestine movement, I strongly urge that a central coordinating committee comprised of representatives from all groups be formed and that the first call be for construction of mechanisms for internal dispute resolution. In this regard, I offer my services in an advisory capacity.

The second order should be a committed dialogue for constructing mutually agreed upon ends and means for activists. This needs to be inclusive of many platforms.. not exclusive to the degree that there exists only one.

Beyond this, planning for success is far more effective than harping on failure.


Past related reports:

Through the Fog of Deception - Nahida Izzat

Facts Missing in Website's Hit Piece on Gaza Activist Ken O'Keefe - Tim King

Zahir's response to Mary at PTT: Ken O'Keefe, Road to Hope and a Kidnapping that Wasn't - Zahir Ebrahim for

Ken O'Keefe - On Being a World Citizen - Intro by Tim King Video by Ken O'Keefe


M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. is a Counselor and Conflict Resolution Specialist/Consultant (Mediation/Arbitration/Facilitation) (20+ yrs).

He is the Creator of Thought Addiction programs (Lectures Seminars & Workshops) (Intensive 21 day Addiction Recovery Programs designed for Artists, Actors, Musicians & Industry Leaders) residing in New Hampshire (US). (The Website for M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. is currently under reconstruction) Contact: 1-603-478-1544

Americans for a Stronger Israel

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M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. August 9, 2011 11:57 pm (Pacific time)

It is regrettable that Mary Rizzo has determined she will not attempt ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution)to bring about a suitable resolve to the claims she has leveled against Ken O'Keefe and those Ken has leveled. Truly, it would be in the best interest of all involved that some manner of resolution occur as this matter has done considerable damage to both individuals and the movement. Sadly, at this point, it is remarkable that Mary, through her refusal, has cast further doubt upon her credibility with regard to her article, claims against Ken and her contention that she is all about the movement. In her response, Mary has made numerous blatantly false statements with regard to comments I am alleged to have made. She has been served notice that I fully expect retraction of all such statements. The same applies to Christina. These claims are, besides being obvious lies, further testament to the lack of credibility with which either can be regarded. It is interesting to read all their comments about "truth" being so important and witness the mountain of lies and distortions they offer in tandem. At this point, I will cease responding to them beyond a reiteration that the failure to resolve these issues through a most honorable method and in a manner affording possible remediation rests upon Mary's shoulders and a cautionary reminder that full retractions to their blatant, shameless and harmful lies (libel) are expected. They may wish to check with council as it is not essential that such libel produce monetary harms and my region is not covered by SLAPP regulations.

Editor to Christina Baseos August 8, 2011 5:12 pm (Pacific time)

We don't publish comments of that length, feel free to try again...

Jose Jimenez August 8, 2011 12:49 pm (Pacific time)

"...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..."  This is very amusing. Mr. Paul and all others, reason any of us are even having this discussion is because of obvious alleged malfeasance on the part of O'Keefe concerning this whole "mission to Gaza." On July 25th, an adhoc committee was hastily formed to relieve O'Keefe of his effective participation and to begin to justify the project to its many supporters. You see this project was promoted as a charity, when actually it was run as a business. And Ken raised money and donations under fraudulent circumstances, and without any kind of formal accountability to anyone.

Editor: First, for those who don't know, 'Jose Jimenez' is the name of a 1950's character used in a racist skit that the Mexican-American community of  Los Angeles eventually had shut down.   It was sort of like Amos & Andy and is from a time when U.S. TV sitcoms featured men threatening to beat their wives, not a good time period.  That racist persona is who this latest attacker of the highly respected Gaza activist chooses to represent himself by, nice.... not!  That is the interesting part of this comment, which is something that would truly hurt Pinocchio were he in a tight space.  A great man goes to great effort to help people in Gaza and you idiots attack him with your hasbara bullshit.  You are a joke, hopefully you already know that.  Again, for the record, Ken is legit as can be and year after year he risks his life to help people who desperately need attention.  This idiot and the cohorts like MR are not helping Palestine, they are hurting Palestine's friends.   

Raul Reeve August 7, 2011 8:44 pm (Pacific time)

Ken claimed to have been abducted on a Greek ship. This was not true. Mary exposed him. What more can you say?

Tim King: You shouldn't say anything. What a foolish thing it is you guys are trying to do, not only did it happen but it is documented by video cameras and the action was recorded from both sides.  Numerous reports, all listed below.  You can stare at the sky and call it red but it is still blue..  We constantly have Israelis here blabbering away about how bad we all are, but to have people who consider themselves 'inside the movement' doing it... oh wait, you guys are in no possible way inside the movement.  No possible way.  You are all working for the other side. 

Nov-18-2010: Road to Hope Kidnapping Statement of Events - Ken O'Keefe

Nov-13-2010: UPDATE: Gaza Road to Hope Convoy Members Arrested in Greece - Tim King

Nov-12-2010: DRAMATIC VIDEO Gaza Activists Taken to Sea Against Their Will Now Held at Gunpoint in Greece - Tim King

Nov-11-2010: Kidnapped Aid Workers Speak of Continuing Ordeal Aboard Absconding Greek Ship -

Nov-11-2010: British Aid Workers Held on Ship in Libyan Sea -

Nov-10-2010: 10 Aid Workers Held Hostage on Greek Owned Ship -

Nov-10-2010: Greek Ship Captain Threatens to Leave the Gaza Road to Hope Convoy - Bonnie King

Nov-07-2010: Road to Hope Convoys Remain Stalled but Determined to Reach Gaza - Tim King

Nov-03-2010: In Limbo in Libya: Gaza Road to Hope Convoy Urges Contact with Egyptian Embassies - Tim King

Nov-01-2010: Road to Hope (R2H) Convoy in Positive Dialogue with Egyptian Officials -

Oct-30-2010: Road to Hope Convoy Stalled at Egyptian Border -

Oct-29-2010: Egypt Working with Road to Hope Convoy: Group Still Enroute to Gaza - Tim King

Oct-26-2010: Road to Hope Convoy with Ken O'Keefe Approaching Gaza - Tim King

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


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?

Christina Baseos August 6, 2011 4:38 pm (Pacific time)

@ Tim King

Dear Tim,

As I am a person who prefers positive thinking, when I have a discussion with someone I try to first find things that we actually agree on and then I find the ones that we disagree about. To my surprise, however gladly, I realized from your comments that we actually agree on more things that I would have thought.

With regards to your first comment.
Agreed! You are absolutely right that one example of gathering information is to ask the person one is writing about to respond to questions. In case you’ve missed it, Ken was asked to answer questions regarding the RTH convoy. He was actually asked to be interviewed. The exchange of messages is documented, I trust you have read it!

 Tim King: Right, and people were called in front of the Spanish Inquisition, but were the questions and motivations fair?  Or were they a means to an end?

It is no one’s fault though that Ken decided to flatly reject the proposal. It goes without saying that it was his right to reject but what’s the point of crying over spilled milk now?

 Tim King: OK, let me get this right... if a person chooses not to give an interview to hacks who are there to power a slander campaign then they are fair game... is that it?  I don't work that way, so I have to ask.

As for the “sake of clarity”, if something is unclear to you from what Ken himself has written in his numerous short/long/old/new/updated biographies in various websites, may I suggest you take advantage of your “personal ability” and ask Ken directly to clarify anything that is not clear or sounds vague to you?

 Tim King: Myself, along with dozens of supporters, who do not share our thoughts with the world on Facebook, are very very familiar with what Ken has said and written.  It is consistent and they are simple facts I knew from the beginning.  You guys are flailing your arms. 

The fact that you know Ken O’Keefe very well, as well as members of his family, is not a counter-argument that provides answers to questions, doubts and concerns about his actions nor is it proof supporting the opposite of any allegations made against him
Ken is a “great reporter”! Agreed!
I’ve got no reason not to believe you. Indeed it takes tremendous skill and talent to record yourself holding the camera with one hand, while walking and talking at the same time. Not to mention the audio/visual effects inserted in his “reports”.

 Tim King: Ah, the smell of desperation, you couldn't get through this simple comment without trying to fault the skills of a professional   

I applaud you for being a supporter of freedom of speech and for your democratic views for someone, who is an Associate Editor in your website, to “feel free to add” his thoughts on a subject.
We agree on that as well!

Mary’s article was damaging. Agreed!
And the purpose of it was to reveal the truth about the RTH fiasco. Truth can be damaging and can hurt sometimes.

Editor: You are not honest though, that is a real problem, have you considered that aspect?  An attack piece that is loosely based on unfounded innuendo is not the same as walking into a burning warehouse that Israel just struck and having to duck the falling embers.  It is not the same as standing with your brothers on 15 May when the new Intifada launched as Israel's bullets are whizzing by and killing your friends.  

Ken is a “hero” and “sort of the ultimate one man band for humanity”. Agreed!
After all he is an ex-marine, a licensed captain, a survivor of the MMM, a survivor of a “kidnapping”, an official “body identifier” since he “identified Vik’s body”, an excellent reporter, leader of convoys, entrepreneur and probably many other things. It takes a lot of “heroism” to do what Ken does!
You claim I’m no advocate of Palestine. As Luigi Pirandello would say, “it is so, if you think so”. There is nothing I can do to change your opinion on that. But since you asked, I am an advocate of truth, justice and yes, peace. I believe that Ken hasn’t copyrighted these terms, so I also am allowed to be their advocate. I am taking liberty of using a sentence written by your colleague, Mr. M. Dennis Paul: “That I am not a "name" in the "game" such as yourself is solely due to my having had need to keep things subdued to a level acceptable to me and not ever having need or desire to be in the limelight”.
I don’t see why this can work for Mr. M. Dennis Paul and not for me as well.

Tim King: M. Dennis Paul has a fascinating background and here in the U.S. he worked with SDS Weathermen and Black Panthers.  I'm very fortunate to work with him. 

With reference to what you claim that attacking Ken is like an attack on Palestine itself, do you happen to know if the Palestinians share your views of identifying themselves with Ken?

 Tim King: Yes, I have been contacted by many Palestinians and they all support Ken exclusively.   

Do they agree with the identification of their struggle with an individual?
It would be reasonable for Israel to waste time and money in attacking/destroying/sabotaging organizations or their members with a proven successful track record, such as the VP, the FGM, the ISM, etc. What is not reasonable is for Israel to waste time and money in sabotaging an individual with a proven track record of failures, who whenever engages into a project, this is doomed to fail anyway, due to a number of reasons. The negative publicity that follows those failures and fiascos has such a damaging impact to the movement that even a Zionist with the wildest imagination wouldn’t have thought!

Tim King: Are there five people now sharing your beliefs?  If co congrats, because your membership in the Ken-Hater Club has more than doubled.  You guys are a waste of my time and Ken would agree if it weren't for the fact that you are trying to hard to attack and attack.  You will not win, you are not even a real person, or if you are, then send some identifying data, show me stories you have generated over the years.

Mary Rizzo August 6, 2011 4:16 pm (Pacific time)

Tim, are you a conspiracy nut or do you truly and honestly believe that criticism of a person who you like is the work of Israel? I would like proof of it, I think that everyone would. In the world I come from, we allow ourselves the intellectual honesty to expect that there is accountability / rights to criticise. You seem to forget that there are many Palestinians who truly believe Ken is a bane to them. This is their business, and they have presented reams of argument to support their view. Are they too being set up by Israel? Isn't this kind of smearing straight out of the Hasbara Handbook? If you have proof, you are required to come out with it. Otherwise, it is only smears. You seem to have tremendous difficulty in understanding that throughout Ken's past, he has severely turned off many activists. I imagine you never saw the Journeyman video where they voted him out of their sight. He was considered as a negative element to the others who feared for their safety. He pretended he was kidnapped (the event I investigated). It was false! If you have proof he was kidnapped, you must present it. You already published conflicting things on it, which were included in the report that gives you the shakes, because it demonstrates you do not use journalistic standards such as fact checking and cross verification. You take as truth anything said by someone you like.

Tim King: Mary, it is you who decides to hurt this dedicated activist Mary, you are able to make some of this stick with people who don't know otherwise and even I would possibly believe you if I didn't know Ken.  

you ask who else refused to be interviewed? I don't know why this interests you particularly, but only one person wanted it dearly, the spokesperson of RTH, but she wanted it only after it was published because she wanted to explain her quotes, all taken from public venues. During the actual investigation, she did not respond to my solicitiation. However, I have a long letter from her when she is informed that the entire conversation will be taped, as is my habit, and she then refused to be interviewed. So, apparently, having one be fully on record is not in her interests, she wants to invent that she is misquoted, perhaps? I don't know. But of the others who were interviewed, none of them set any conditions at all and all of them were totally in the dark of the content of the report until they saw it published. I did not work with them, I had no side to favour and I wanted facts to emerge. Facts emerged and they are evident to any honest human being.

 Tim King: If this is a serious conversation, then it would be very different.  Your motivations are nothing like all other people I know trying to help the battered population of Palestine.  No matter what, at the very least, you take everyone's eye off the ball.

You label me as a liar. I would like you to specifically state where in the article or in any of the comments I lie. I do not believe that it is sufficient for you to state it. You are not a reliable person and you have a loyalty issue to Ken that refuses to allow anything to tarnish the hero image that you believe is giving you a reason for living, by reading what you write. Palestine existed long before Ken, and it will exist in spite of Ken causing issues that damage their cause by his recklessness and character. Your appraisal of Anna Oleary by the way is extremely humourous. I have a FB note that is open for anyone. I hope you do take a look: you will see that she is overjoyed that the other person Ken has ordered to harass his "enemies" has "found" a picture proving I am paid by Israel. Too bad the joke is on her. She also claims that since my site is called P T T that it is part of the Washington think tanks and many other incredible things. I am sure that since she is so busy smearing, she has no time to actually look anything up, but certainly, she could do a little bit better, perhaps you should train her some. you both have the hero worship down pat!

Tim King: I don't know about all of this Mary, I know you aren't talking about Ken's mom Pat, she is awesome and kind hearted and helped create the fighter for humanity that Ken is.  And all people of Ken's magnitude are attacked, it is part of how things work, of course Israel is freaked out about Ken, they damned well should be because he's a media magnet and exceedingly intelligent and good on his toes, it is only a question of 'how' Israel goes about their deeds.  Your actions are the manifestation of what their goals would look like, so of course people don't trust you whereas they did before.   

Christina Baseos August 6, 2011 6:51 am (Pacific time)

@ 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. (

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 and 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 and works out properly and successfully, but when there are mishandlings , failures and 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 and 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.

Mary Rizzo August 6, 2011 3:27 am (Pacific time)

Actually, I think I owe Salem News a big thank you! Your continual interest in the work of PTT and now 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!

Tim King: Wow, well if you halt your attacks on Gaza activists then we might really have something, and it should be no secret to our readers that prior to this debacle, Mary and I were completely open and friendly, we exchanged information and shared stories.  I think Dr. Paul hits the nail on the head with suggestions of real unity, but I somehow doubt that it will come to pass.  

MAHA August 6, 2011 2:21 am (Pacific time)

This is smear! You are not allowed to question KOK friend, if you do > you are a criminal Zionist!!. dr. dolittle is good at smear, once you make the accusation PROVIDE THE PROOF OR SHUT UP! Anna wrote "ONE" article in 2006 on a small American site run by and activist who has since closed his site. Wow, what a bulk of material she has to prove she is a real legit activist for Palestine! I wish alone that you would come out with proof of your claims on who is being paid by Israel. I think that you better do it if you want one serious person to do anything in the future but laugh at you and feel sorry for you. and, if there are people HIRED, COME OUT WITH THE EVIDENCE otherwise you are just reiterating to one and all that you are a senseless twerp! http://www.bicyclesumbrell​​leary people should wonder about you!.. Google Mary Rizzo in return.. or you know what.. ask palestinian activists.. majority know her or know about her not famous but at least SINCERE, DEVOTED and HUMAN with NO AGENDA :)..

Editor: We don't happen to have our own Mossad so it isn't easy to gather hard evidence with respect to this, we are dealing with a governmental entity with endless resources and that is not our story, so we have to rely on what we have, and what doesn't add up, doesn't add up.  It makes no sense that anyone who cares about Palestine would attack a dedicated activist like Ken O'Keefe, it DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.  As for Anna, she is incredible and dedicated and HONEST.  Must be a hard concept for some of you to grasp, your motivations are so entirely different from ours that I fail to be surprised.  Nobody who cares about a beleaguered people such as the Palestinians would be against Ken, again, it fails to make sense.  And if the people are truly doing this only for the sake of their own egos, and not for Israel, then it is twice as sick.  I personally don't believe it is some random thing, I believe this attack on Ken was planned at high levels, probably in Tel Aviv.  You conclude what you want from that, it is a hell of a coincidence  

Mary Rizzo August 6, 2011 2:01 am (Pacific time)

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!

Tim King: Israel buys Google ads and almost every story we carry about Israel has one of their banner ads at the bottom offering deceiving messages about Israeli politics and since there is nothing we can do to control this, the team at Veterans Today created the sarcastic 'Screw America' I Stand With Israel ad as a joke, and to restore a semblance of balance.  Those who click on it are directed to a story that bemoans Bob Dylan's playing in Israel and also explains the tongue-in-cheek ad. 

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,

 Tim King: What other party declined to be interviewed who was not on your target list?  You know people roll their eyes when you try to represent that attack as balanced journalism.  My angle is truth, yours is speculation.  My writings come from extensive personal knowledge and interviews, yours comes from where?

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!

Tim King: The public would have nothing to judge but Ken's documented actions, were it not for your hit piece, and the current actions of the JAWS pack.  Either way, you go to bed every day knowing that many people have serious questions about your motivations, and that is not the case for all of us. Call me simple, I don't mind, it is all quite simple.  Ken was making progress and you did your best to stop him.  Since the recipients of his actions are the Palestinians, it causes your motives to appear very dubious, and it is all by design, is it not?

M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. August 5, 2011 10:43 pm (Pacific time)

Christina: 1st, it is inappropriate to change any part of a statement and then place it within quotes. It was quite clear that I referred to Mary.

Rather than go another foolish round with you, Mary or anyone else.. exactly the opposite of what I have proposed and you have, obviously, missed... the following will be sufficient. Had Mary used the term “alleged” at any point in her diatribe and eliminated all the invectives and extraneous kerfuffle, she could be considered an unbiased journalist. It is precisely these features that separate her effort from a genuine dossier. 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. It is precisely for this reason that I addressed her as such and put the matter to a resolution position within the organization, such as it exists: Amongst the kerfuffle , invectives, aspersions and other malignant features, there may possibly be genuine issues with Ken O'Keefe that require inspection and address within the confines of the organization. Having written, publicly about Ken in the manner she has exhibited and with regard to the invectives etc that continue to emanate from Mary as she “responds” to comments from others (again, publicly), there are concerns, now, regarding her opprobrium that could benefit from organizational review.

It is not my responsibility to address any claims against Ken at this point. The arguments and allegations have been publicly proposed by Mary and it is those matters that, raised within a mediation/arbitration, would be addressed by the opposing parties and examined by the specialist(s). I am not the arbiter of record regarding this matter. I am pointing to the inappropriate actions taken by Mary and what appears to be her unwillingness to resolve any matters outside of the public view.

You are incorrect regarding mediators/arbiters. While every effort is made to view both sides of a conflict from a position of impartiality, articles of behaviour must be addressed where necessary to eliminate incorrectly or inappropriately held positions of the opposing parties. This is especially true where there exists an additional party, the organization, often represented only by its charter or mission. This is a common misunderstanding of the role of the mediator/arbiter. What the specialist does, is attempt to assist both parties to gain recognition and understanding of the opposite party's concerns, claims, allegations, feelings, thoughts, actions and reactions. Through this recognition and understanding, it is hoped that a blend of both perspectives evolves into an agreement in which both parties determine an acceptable outcome. 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.

So that you understand the role of mediator/arbiter as clearly as possible... were I to be on record, within the chambers where the parties raise their positions and concerns, my first rule of order would be that both parties, within the scope of my jurisdiction, begin lacking any credibility what so ever. Their respective credibility will either evolve or not based upon their composure, the strength of their arguments and their proper understanding of their roles within the organization and willingness to demure to the collective mission of the organization. Clear enough?

Further, Christina, choosing not to see something is considerably different than that something actually being presented for your edification. I cannot help you in that regard beyond stating that the something you claim was absent was, and is, actually there.

Has anything Ken may or may not have done seriously effected the movement? From my experience, even some of the most bizarre antics of individuals do far less, if any, harm to a movement than does “splitting” within a movement. There are many ways in which to view the ideologies and actions of those with whom we are aligned. Usually, viewing them with extreme harshness, causes a great deal of misunderstanding and needless strife. Often, the true and positive value of some action with which we, personally, have a diminished degree of comfort benefits us despite our comfort level. “Splitting”, however, has only a negative effect. I could give you a number of examples but choose not to write a book in this space.

Please take a good look at what you quoted from Mary. What you presented was strictly her opinion, whether supported or not by any other party. It is your belief that the facts support this, however, despite Mary's attempt, the verdict is NOT in.

M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. August 5, 2011 7:24 pm (Pacific time)

It is deeply regretted that you choose to continue with invectives and points of minor interest rather than work to resolve this out of harms way as was the gist of my comments. If, as you say, you are genuinely in belief that the level of discourse is damaging, I again invite you to embark on a constructive resolve as opposed to your response which demonstrates only more of the same. The fact that I do not know you, nor you having knowledge of me, my expertise or support and advocacy for Palestine should not, if you are truly open to helping Palestine and the movement, be cause for such egotistical dismissal as displayed in your last line. I wasn't aware that I needed to be recognized by you in order to have a voice in the movement. I have, in my own personal way, been involved in support of a free Palestine for over 40 years. That I am not a "name" in the "game" such as yourself is solely due to my having had need to keep things subdued to a level acceptable to me and not ever having need or desire to be in the limelight. My offer was, and remains, to assist in an advisory capacity should you present with a genuine desire to remove this banter from the arena where it persists in harming our cause and find a respectable resolution.

Agron Belica August 5, 2011 6:09 pm (Pacific time)

"To the Free Palestine movement, I strongly urge that a central coordinating committee comprised of representatives from all groups be formed and that the first call be for construction of mechanisms for internal dispute resolution. In this regard, I offer my services in an advisory capacity. The second order should be a committed dialogue for constructing mutually agreed upon ends and means for activists. This needs to be inclusive of many platforms.. not exclusive to the degree that there exists only one. Beyond this, planning for success is far more effective than harping on failure." -M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. Associate Editor REALLY DEEP! THANKS FOR SHARING!!!

Christina Baseos August 5, 2011 5:41 pm (Pacific time)

As the sentence in the above article is a bit vague, are you Mr. Paul referring to Mary Rizzo when you say “that the events to which she refers are not based on genuine personal knowledge or presence within” or are you referring to all persons she contacted and interviewed when preparing her article?
If it’s the former case, since when journalists are “present” in every single event that they write an article about? And since when is it mandatory for a journalist to have “personal knowledge” about an incident? To the best of my knowledge, journalists gather data, information, take interviews from all involved parties, search all pieces of evidence and based on them they write an article.
If it’s the latter case, allow me to say that you are wrong on this. First, Mary Rizzo got information and documentation, regardless of their wrong naming, by Ken O’Keefe himself. Are you implying that Ken O’Keefe doesn’t have “personal knowledge” of the events?

 Tim King: Well one example of gathering personal information is to ask the person one is writing about, to respond to questions for the sake of clarity.  However this is not an option for a writer participating in a witch hunt specifically designed to damage the reputation and character of a person.  Everyone knows Mary set out to hurt and damage Ken and that it was part of a broad plan.  We all know it begins with Greta Berlin, and that she and Ken have bad blood going back to the first Flotilla.  However I do know Ken and if you think that doesn't have value; having the personal ability to ask endless  questions and learn a great deal of background, then the 'sense' meter starts blazing red, because that is how a person gains a real understanding.  I also know Ken's mom and we have spent many hours visiting and talking about the person Ken was as a child, she has told stories that explain a great deal.  The truth in spite of all else, is that he has a fantastic ability to raise awareness of the suffering in Gaza.  He is also a fantastic reporter and sort of the ultimate one man band for humanity.  Yet however good he is on his own two feet, he is anything but alone and those of us who support him are people who aren't ego sensitive to the point that they allow their desires to disrupt the very essence of what this whole damned thing is about.  I find my ability to believe in those who bring this many down fleeting, because I just don't buy it.  I just don't believe the accusations, they are not widely shared, but very one pointed in origin.  . 

Moreover and apart from Ken O’Keefe, I myself have personal knowledge and presence within the events and I was one of the persons interviewed by Mary Rizzo. And if you have doubts on that, you may ask Ken O’ Keefe, who saw me quite a few times on board the vessel and interacted with me also through the internet. Additionally, you may ask Ms. Ellie Merton, the liaison of the RTH convoy, who called me a couple of times on my mobile phone, while I was on the vessel.

To continue, you say that “problems or concerns within an organization are best taken up within the structure of the organization itself and not in the media.”. Correct!
I see that you sign as “Counselor and Conflict Resolution Specialist/Consultant (Mediation/Arbitration/Facilitation)”. Isn’t it a mediator’s / arbitrator’s task to impartially and objectively examine the facts provided by both counter-parties? I believe it is. However, I have not been able to trace any comment in your article referring to Ken O’ Keefe’s actions of “taking the concerns within the organization and not the media”. I want to believe that you have read Mary Rizzo’s article, prior writing yours, and I strongly wish that you have cross-checked all the links given to numerous statements, interviews, posts, etc made by Ken O’ Keefe with regards to the RTH convoy. If you haven’t, I strongly suggest you do, only to see that it was Ken O’Keefe, who decided to take this course of action and be the very first person to take everything to the media (TV, websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) during the crisis and while the events were unfolding. Wouldn’t you expect from the leader of a convoy to act a little more wiser about his “kidnapping”, in an effort to save his fellow “abductees” first and then himself? Is that the course of action one would have chosen if they were “kidnapped”?

 Tim King: Dr.Paul, please feel free to add your thoughts, this is the same old thing, from one of a very limited number of people who are very out of touch with what it is going to take to sway the American public away from their support of funding Israel at $4 million a day.

Moreover, you mention “Solidarity Lost. Played out in media, future possible activists are faced with having no unified structure to support them... and donors, so desperately needed, are fearful of lending their support. The movement loses... but more important, the Palestinians lose”.
I will ask again. Have you read Mary Rizzo’s article AND all the 171 comments that follows it and made by various commentators? Has it escaped you that this is exactly what Mary Rizzo says? That actions and fiascos like the RTH one, lead only to discourage future possible activists and especially discourages the “so desperately needed” donors” and that the entire movement is being harmed?
For your easy reference, I quote you one only sentence included in her article. There are many more, I trust you can find them yourself.
“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”

Tim King: Nobody is questioning whether Mary's attack was damaging, it was.  When a person lies over and over, as in the case of  former U.S. Pres. Geo W. Bush, a certain  portion of the people believe it, simple as that.  Mary didn't write an article, she wrote a 50-page slanderous false expository or as some may say, a railroad job.

The reason that frustrates future possible donors and turns them away is not the public affray taking place in the various media but the original cause of the affray. What is that? The absolute lack of transparency.

Tim King: To the contrary, that is your goal, and the opposite of Ken's.  You and your friends bash Ken, the biggest hero of the movement, and then write about how it will affect donations.  I call foul on you directly and squarely,.  You are no advocate for Palestine, and who is it you advocate for?  Attacking Ken and his hard work is like an attack on Palestine itself and the only people who do that work for Israel, tell me how that is not the case?  You are more than a distraction, or a simple uninformed party.

To conclude, while you Mr. Paul offer your services, in an advisory capacity, to the Palestinian movement for the construction of mechanisms for internal disputes resolution, I would expect from someone with your credentials to be indeed an impartial mediator and to point out the mistakes and/or wrongdoings of all counter-parties and to not, inadvertently if you will, take sides, because let’s face it, we can all read between the lines and before you say that Mary Rizzo was the one who took sides in the first place, I will kindly point out that she is not writing in a capacity as a conflicts resolution specialist but in her capacity as a journalist and activist, who gathered the facts and evidence and based on she them wrote an article.

P.S. For unknown reasons, the links you provide to Mary Rizzo’s articles are not showing. Please make sure to include the correct links in order to enable your readers to follow your advice and read both, the article and the post with all the comments.

mary rizzo August 5, 2011 2:49 pm (Pacific time)

Far from opinion, the article that i call dossier since it contains numerous "attachments", testimonies and extensive direct quotes, pointed out many and various issues and facts. To this day, none of it has been debunked. That there has been conflicting, false, inciteful and misleading information issued directly from Ken O'Keefe and not verified by anyone lead to the claims that he was "kidnapped" when that is clearly not the case at all! This very site, which seems to specialise in ex-mils patting one another on the back, also published the false information that they were held at GUNPOINT by a swat team of all things, only of course to have to deny it later, coming from the same source. And this is but one of the myriad inconsistencies. That Ken wishes to create a "persona" of himself as a former American, as if this is in fact some sort of accomplishment, was scrutinised and held to fact checking, it is another falsity. I am not deterred by someone like this writer claiming that those who dare question or challenge persons who claim to act in others' names and on behalf of them with their money and the entire "community of activists" must blindly follow suit being "evidently" paid agenst and suchlike. This sort of smear tactic is what the Zionists do specialise in as a matter of fact. That finally many even in Ken's own little circle(circus) have come to realise they are not going to get much in the way of accountability, but they are going to see his orders to attack his enemies and smear them as agents (yours truly has been labelled by one of them and approved of by ken as a "recruiter of young Islamists for the Salafites" and now as well I am said to be working for some American Think Tank. I believe that the ridiculous level of discourse is damaging, while seeking truth and facts based on evidence never is. No need to give me your analysis, since you don't know me and I have never heard of you as any sort of expert, advocate or even supporter of the Palestinian cause.

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