Ex-US Marine who renounced US citizenship at the US Embassy in Vancouver, Canada. on March 1, 2001. Now holding Irish, Hawaiian & Palestinian citizenship; but ultimate allegiance is given to all life and to planet Earth. A lawfully declared world citizen, meaning my ultimate allegiance is to my entire human family and to planet Earth.
I believe the world is what we make of it and that we have as a human duty the obligation of working to hand this world over to our children in a better state to that which we inherited it.
I do not fear death because life is energy; there is no energy without life nor life without energy. Energy cannot be produced nor extinguished, energy can only transfer; if there is anything to fear in life it is the negative transfer of our energy which is the unavoidable result of living without conscience.
Kenneth Nichols O’Keefe (born July 21, 1969) is an American-Irish-Palestinian citizen and activist and former United States Marine and Gulf War veteran who attempted to renounce his United States citizenship in 2001. He led the human shield action to Iraq and was a passenger on the MV Mavi Marmara during the Gaza flotilla raid. He claimed to have participated during clashes on the ship including having been involved in the disarmament of two Israeli commandos.
O’Keefe served as a United States Marine in the Gulf War. According to O’Keefe’s own website, he was discharged because he “spoke out openly about abuse of power by my ‘superiors’ and as a consequence I paid a heavy price. I realised that honour and integrity were virtues which are often punished rather than rewarded and the Marines supplied me with my first serious taste of injustice.”
O’Keefe created a marine conservation social enterprise ‘to protect and defend the marine environment’ in Hawaii in 1996. This enterprise conducted ghost net recoveries and rescues of endangered Green Sea Turtle wrapped in monofilament fishing line. O’Keefe became a pioneer in sea turtle rescues in Hawaii and led a campaign to create a marine sanctuary (Pupukea MLCD) on the North Shore of Oahu.
In 1998 he joined an anti-whaling campaign in which he was bloodied when attempting to retrieve a boat belonging to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, of which he was a crew member. At this time he was being mentored by Paul Watson. Eventually he served as the regional director for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, in Hawaii.
Human shield action to Iraq
In December 2002, O’Keefe started the human shield action to Iraq group. Intended to “make it politically impossible for them to bomb” Iraq by placing western civilians as “shields” at non-military locations, about 75 activists traveled over land from London to Baghdad in two double-decker buses. Critics of the human shields argued that their mission would only protect Saddam Hussein. O’Keefe argued the “people of Iraq” would suffer the most from a war and publicly acknowledged Hussein as a “violent dictator”. At its height about 300 human shields were in Baghdad, but due to challenges internally, with the Iraqi dictatorship and O’Keefe’s deportation from Iraq, the numbers dwindled.
O’Keefe attempted formal renunciation of his U.S. citizenship in 2001, but
“… O’Keefe has tried officially to renounce his citizenship twice without success, first in Vancouver [Canada] and then in the Netherlands. His initial bid was rejected after the State Department concluded that he would return to the United States — a credible inference, as O’Keefe in fact had returned immediately. After his second attempt, he waited seven months with no response before he tried a more sensational approach. He went back to the consulate at The Hague, retrieved his passport, walked outside, and lit it on fire. Seventeen days later, he received a letter from the State Department informing him that he was still an American, because he had not obtained the right to reside elsewhere. He had succeeded only in breaking the law, since mutilating a passport is illegal. It says so right on the passport”.
Gaza Flotilla involvement
In June 2010, O’Keefe was on board the MV Mavi Marmara. During the Gaza flotilla raid, he was among the passengers who clashed with the Israeli military. In the course of the clash, O’Keefe claims to have been involved in providing initial first aid to a seriously wounded passenger and disarming two Israeli commandos. He claims he helped to disarm one commando of his gun and aided in subduing another, personally taking possession of a 9mm pistol from the second commando, removing the “real bullets” or live ammunition from the pistol and giving the bullets to others while hiding the weapon. He explained that it was his hope that the weapon could be used as evidence in any subsequent trial. O’Keefe said of the experience that it was like “combat but without combat weapons” and that “We had in our full possession, three completely disarmed and helpless commandos” who were “surrounded by at least 100 men”; “we could have done anything with them.” He said that “woman provided basic first aid, and ultimately they were released, battered and bruised for sure, but alive. Able to live another day.”
O’Keefe was among those arrested and detained in Israel. He and another activist claimed O’Keefe had been beaten at the Tel Aviv airport when he resisted deportation, while still in Israeli custody. He claims that a policeman hit him on the head with a truncheon and that he was choked until he almost blacked out. He said he spent two more days in a detention facility in the airport after the incident. O’Keefe said the Irish consul general tried to convince him to agree to leave and asked him to wash the blood off his face but he refused.