Ken O'Keefe (USA)

Black and white portrait of anti-war activist Ken O'Keefe. He is a white male with a short beard, short dark hair and two small tattoos on his face.
Chris Saunders | CC BY-SA 3.0

Ken O'Keefe – Anti-War Activist

Ken O’Keefe is a political activist and outspoken critic of the Military Industrial Complex which serves only to line the pockets of war profiteers such as weapons contractors and their investors.

In this directory we feature resources on his work as a peace advocate, humanitarian, survivor of the Gaza flotilla raid, and his campaign World Citizen Solutions.

O’Keefe is a former U.S. marine and a Gulf War veteran who was reportedly discharged for speaking out about the abuse of power by senior officers. After witnessing the horrors of war, and understanding that the lives of Afghan, Iraq, and Middle Eastern civilians are every bit as important as Western lives he began his anti-war campaign.

In 2001 he renounced his U.S. citizenship and began campaigning against the invasion of Iraq. He led the Human Shield Action to Iraq movement where he encouraged large numbers of Western civilians to travel to Iraq to create a human shield preventing U.S. forces from bombing specific areas. Of all the sites that were shielded, only one was ultimately bombed, resulting in a great success for the human shields.

In 2010, O’Keefe was aboard the humanitarian aid ship Mavi Marmara that was attempting to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. It was attacked by Israeli soldiers, who shot dead several of the activists. O’Keefe was reported to have disarmed two of the soldiers, he was later arrested and detained in Israel. The Israel Defense Forces labelled him an "anti-Israel extremist" and "operative of the Hamas Terror organization."

O’Keefe’s World Citizen Solutions campaign in 2016 aimed to stop the perpetual cycle of war, question the motives of the U.S. military, and American foreign policy. The project ultimately raised $113,470 but saw minimal success. One of the main goals was war tax resistance which addresses U.S. tax obligations funding forever wars. If given the chance, how many citizens would opt out of war taxes and opt into a peace tax?

“Only one of these forces, humanity or tyranny, can succeed and the world we handover to our children and future generations will be defined by our success or failure in this regard. The irony is that the tyrants have no power but that which we have unwittingly relinquished to them… in order to create a better world we simply need to take our power back. That is my ultimate goal; a better world.” - Ken O’Keefe.

Author: Rachael Mellor, 08.11.23 licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0

For further reading on Ken O’Keefe see below  ⬇

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