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Sep-29-2010 10:27printcommentsVideo

War and Peace with Ken O'Keefe

Ken O'Keefe and his brothers were the police last May, when they defended their ship, the Mavi Marmara, from Israeli military invaders. Nine men aboard Ken's ship were killed that night.
Photo and video by Tim King

(SPOKANE, Wash.) - One overnight accommodation on the Ken O'Keefe NW tour happened at an exquisite place of natural beauty called Soap Lake, Washington. We actually ended up at Sun Lake; one of many in a series that is reminiscent of something one may have seen in prehistoric times, thanks to the kindness of Ken's friend Dr. Bill Dienst, who has visited Gaza five times and was aboard the first Freedom Flotilla with Ken and many other advocates.

What a contrast that must be for someone who has seen the kind of needless death and oppression Ken has witnessed in this life of his, that ran the gamut from California surfer, to an enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps during the first Gulf War, and then onto a life of activism that is sometimes criticized because O'Keefe of, is serious about the points he has to make.

He represents a revival of the belief that real peace can not be secured in this world without ample resistance, and sometimes direct action leads to violence. So be it if it has to be. The question is whether a person should defend their loved ones, or simply watch them be slaughtered. Marines are not trained for the latter.

Others in the past have realized this. The Buddhist Monk Thích Nhất Hạnh, author of over 100 books, coined the term Engaged Buddhism in his book Vietnam: Lotus in a Sea of Fire.

Gandhi wrote: "I have conceded that even in a non-violent state a police force may be necessary...Police ranks will be composed of believers in non-violence. The people will instinctively render them every help and through mutual cooperation they will easily deal with the ever decreasing disturbances..."

Ken O'Keefe and his brothers were the police last May, when they defended their ship, the Mavi Marmara, from Israeli military invaders. Nine men aboard Ken's ship were killed that night.

The Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship owned and operated by IHH (The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief) along with several others, was going to attempt to break Israel's illegal siege of Gaza by reaching the Port of Gaza with the fleet of ships, carrying Palestinian human rights activists like Ken, reporters from numerous media outlets, and tons of what the people of Gaza need; building supplies to reconstruct their homes and businesses damaged and destroyed by Israel's bombs; items including food, wheelchairs and medicine.

With this being the goal, and before the ships ever entered "Israeli" waters, the passenger ship Mavi Marmara was attacked by air and sea. Israel sent its best, Commando Group 13, and they had their asses handed to them after landing on the deck of this ship.

And before they ever set foot aboard the Mavi Marmara, the Israeli Defense Force helicopter's sniper killed one photographer, a gentleman standing near Ken O'Keefe. He was shot right through the forehead. This week the action on Israel's part was heavily condemned by the United Nations. Serious accusations of war crimes and execution killings are at hand.

This news arrived during Ken's tour and has certainly added something to a story that had plenty of people around the world seriously unhappy already. This confirmation of Israel's criminal action is the latest blow to the Jewish state's fast fading supposed 'moral image' that Americans are increasingly realizing, is a mask for a nation with true genocidal ambitions; one that makes no qualms about it either. The people aren't just divided by religion and offered separate laws and options in Jewish; they even have Jewish and Arab roads.

Another member of our team is Reporter Eileen Fleming of, the author of three books with a fourth soon to be released. She is chronicling Ken's life on this tour. Eileen has been to Israel/Palestine seven times and will visit Iran in the coming months. Ken's NW time here has been extremely interesting, and the addition of his mom Pat Johnson to the tour has been a blessing for us all. This was especially good news for Eileen, who as a nurse before becoming a journalist, is a researcher with a keen interest in the childhoods of people who go on to do amazing things.

There is one thing Arab people in this part of the world have more of, and that is military checkpoints. I haven't been there, but I have a lot of close friends and current contacts who have been in Gaza and live there now.

I hear so many horror stories, and they aren't all that old in this case. A few short generations ago Gaza was mostly accessible, but in the 80's Israel built a wall along the entire perimeter of Gaza. The Israeli Navy patrols the coast and halts all vessels trying to reach Gaza. It is insane from what I am told and I do know what military checkpoints are like, I have been around plenty of them in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are the reality of military occupation.

Thich Nhat Hanh - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tim King: Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 65 writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address:


Bonnie King has been with since August '04, when she became Publisher. Bonnie has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", posts as TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and Newspapers In Education/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER). Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers. View articles written by Bonnie King

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Sometimes I Wonder October 3, 2010 4:53 pm (Pacific time)

So nine men killed. Murdered! 3 comments. But, if 3 tons of maryjane was taken you'd have 300 comments. No wonder the world is screwed-up. OK!

Jay C. October 3, 2010 5:50 am (Pacific time)

Malaysian captives of the israeli helicopter pirates reported being POISONED with arsenic while in israeli prisons. Search ... ADD this to the LONG list of israeli atrocities.

Anonymous September 30, 2010 10:59 am (Pacific time)

here is the link :UN finds Israel flotilla raid 'willful killing' ..and, as mentioned in this article, it was in international wars, which is breaking international laws. So, we have over 300 senators, that allow Israel to murder/execute American citizens..just thought I'd give ya the heads up. and they can go pretty much anywhere to do it..oh, and lets not forget the billions of dollars of our tax money that goes to israel, and the fact israel denied having nukes, and now its proven they do..and lets add one is against U.S. law, to send money to any country that has nukes, and does not sign the NPPT, which israel refuses to do, even tho asked to by many in the UN (iran has no nukes, and has signed the NPPT, and is being sanctioned, go figure).. P.S. latest breaking news; they are watching our emails, and I will probably be put on a list. Bet my name is alot lower on the list than Tim tho..sorry Tim, I'll try harder. :-)

OutragedInTexas September 29, 2010 2:55 pm (Pacific time)

Very nice article, Tim and Bonnie. I just wish that I could join Ken and others like him, with appropriate firepower to adequately defend the lives of these incredibly courageous and unselfish souls, giving their lives that others may hope to live in peace. I am outraged to the point of trembling with rage at the heinous, incredibly inhumane lockdown Israel has imposed on the 1.5 million human beings imprisoned in Gaza. Gaza Graibh. Stalag Gaza. GuantanaGaza. Free Gaza already! What a gutless and completly complicit government we have that sanctions the atrocities committed by Israel upon innocent men, women and children who've done nothing to deserve extermination but live there FIRST! I call on every American to stand up for freedom around the world, not just here in their cozy homes. Demand of your representatives in congress that they stop funding the war crimes of the most criminal state that has ever been, since Stalin and Hitler, anyway. They're striving for top honors in the category of most atrocious regime ever. Let's cut them off at the knees. Our government funnels over 3 million dollars a day into this snake pit of sadistic murderous vermin. The time has come to demand an end to the persecution of the innocent in Gaza and all of Palestine, indeed, in all the world. They would slit our throats, cut off our air, food, water and lives if we let them. Shall we let them? Nay, nay, I say! Who's with me? for sure, but come on America! Join the winning team of truth-speaking courageous journalists and activists struggling to make the lives of people everywhere a little more bearable, a little more worth living. God bless you Salem-News, Tim and Bonnie and growing staff of sympathetic volunteers for spreading the simple truth.

gp September 29, 2010 12:07 pm (Pacific time)

thanks for the tour and thanks Bonnie for covering it with video. You all look tired, I know these things are not easy so thanks especially for going along.

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