The Middle East is at its boiling point. Syria is devastated by raging war. Israel threatens to deal with Iran once and for all – with Washington towering over regional affairs. What is at the cornerstone of American foreign politics? With Iran and the US going through a diplomatic thaw, what game will Tel Aviv play? Today we look at these issues through the eyes of a member of the few, but one not proud: a former US marine who burned his passport and became an anti-war activist.
Sophie Shevardnadze: So I am here with activist Kenneth O’Keefe, it’s really great to have you on our show. Kenneth, I know that you’ve led a human shield action in Iraq, right before the war started and then you were deported – do you follow what’s going on in Iraq right now? For example, the November death toll was almost 1,000 and 2013 is the deadliest year since 2008. Why do you think the removal of Saddam hasn’t improved the lives of Iraqis? – Or has it? I don’t know…
Kenneth O’Keefe: Well, I think if you really want to know the truth about the invasion in Iraq, there are clearly some incentives from the invasion: oil, securing oil was one of them, establishing prominent military bases in the region was another one, but the far less talked about reality is Israeli plans which made clear that the Balkanization of surrounding countries and particularly Iraq, if we go to Odid Yinon’s plan for Israel in the 1980s, it lays out very clearly a strategy of destabilizing all of the areas surrounding Israel, this includes Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and even Egypt and Saudi Arabia. This long-term goal is a part of a Greater Israel project, so in terms of sectarian divide you see happening in Iraq today it’s actually all part of the very well designed plan to try and secure this fantasy goal of the Greater Israel project.
SS: Why would Israel benefit from an unstable Middle East, unstable Arab nations? Because what we see is that this instability actually is followed by fundamental Islam. People who are overthrown are either replaced by fundamentalist powers or there’s just more sectarian violence that grows…
KK: Yes, if would seem on the surface from a sane point of view that everything is going wrong, but in fact, when you fracture a country along sectarian divides, ultimately you weaken the country. The last thing Israel or US wants is a strong Nasser-type leader, an Arab nationalist who will seriously ensure that the resources of that country are taken and protected and used for the benefit of the people – that’s the last thing that the empire wants and Israel wants. While you have these religious fundamentalist nutcases who are running around bombing and doing all sorts of stuff like that, you have a weakened, fractured country in Iraq, and that is the prerequisite for ultimately expanding Israel into a fantasy of a Greater Israel project. It doesn’t seem sane and it’s not sane because those who are trying to carry out these agendas are pure and simple psychopaths.
SS: So you think that American administrations, one after another, have been following this plan for 30 years?
KK: If you ask me how the world functions, then you have to understand one thing plain and simple – the head of the snake, the system of power is headed by the financial system. The bankers rule the Earth, through the private control of issuance of money, debt-based money which we all are supposed to pay. Ultimately with all of these things that they call “austerity” and whatnot, the bankers, basically, through the control of issuance of money which allows them to provide themselves with an infinite supply of money, means that they can buy anything and anyone that can be bought – so if we look at it, the vast majority of governments around the world, they are nothing more than puppets carrying out an agenda for the bankers, and the bankers at the top of this pyramid are, as I’ve said, plain and simple psychopathSS: they’re drunk on their own power, they are used to getting everything they want, they can buy anything and anyone that can be bought. This explains the corruption of virtually every government we can look at, and the policies do not reflect the interests of the people. They reflect, pure and simple, the interests of the bankers.
SS: So if what you’re saying is true, that governments obey the big banks and the big money, then it would really take the people and a revolution in each country that you have named to actually change things around. Do you really see revolution taking place in America, for example?
KK: It’s already happening. I’ll give you a great example why I’m optimistic about things in America. You know that the president of the US, traitor that he is, is actually a constitutional lawyer? He actually has trained at the highest levels [of academia] in constitutional law. Do you know how obscene it is that somebody who was trained in constitutional law, giving himself the authority to execute anyone, anywhere, in any part of the planet with no jury, no trial, no conviction, nothing – this man is a dictator who has assigned himself the right to execute anyone, including US citizens. I am confident that at some point the American patriots, who seem to be in a bit of a coma and have been sleeping for a long time, are going to wake up soon and realize that when they took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the US, the president of the US also took that oath and has breached it so badly that he should be arrested and charged with treason right now – and ultimately all of the sycophants of the US Congress who pass things like the Patriot Act and the NDAA, again, completely a contrary to the US constitution, which is supposed to be the supreme law of the land. These people need to be arrested, and a government needs to be put in place that actually honors the US Constitution, and I honestly believe that’s going to happen, one way or another.
SS: But you just started your answer by saying that the revolution is already happening and then you went on by citing everything that’s going wrong in America, like for example the NSA leaks, right – you kind of touched upon them – nothing is really changing within the American society. I don’t see people coming out on the streets and protesting, even though they know they are being listened to. Even Europe, look at Europe - they expressed their outrage at the fact that they have been listened to, including presidents, but nothing is really happening. It’s not like America is cutting on the NSA programs, and it’s not like people aren’t listened to anymore. So where’s the revolution that you are talking about?
KK: I’ll tell you where – this is another thing that really excites me, Sophie, because while you’re not seeing it, apparently and many other people may not be seeing it, let me give you a perfect example that the revolution has already occurred and first step of that revolution is awareness. No one is more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. The people of the world are starting to realize they have been enslaved, enslaved in the financial system which is effectively selling the future of their children down the river. More and more people are becoming aware of that. They’re also sick and tired of being lied to about one boogeyman after another and ultimately what happened in Syria – this is a key point and I really want to make this point before we move on to the next one, because it’s talking about the revolution that you are referring to. The reason why we did not hit Syria, the reason why we did not start bombing Syria is at one simple thing, and that is that the people of the West and the world simply did not buy it. They didn’t have to go on a street and protest – keep in mind, back in 2003 we had a largest protest in the history of the world, [but] it did not stop the invasion in Iraq. But, I’m telling you, the invasion and occupation and ultimately the bombardment of Syria has been planned long ago. It’s a stepping stone toward Iran, which is the ultimate goal for these psychopaths, and [they] could not bombard Syria. The reason why they couldn’t even secure that vote to favor that, here in Britain, is because the people overwhelmingly did not buy it. In the US the approval for bombardment of Syria was about 9 percent - that’s why the US Congress, which is a treasonous body of the government, couldn’t even go to a vote about it. Because if they went to a vote on it and actually voted for another war in this farcical war on terror (where [the fact that] the fantastic American servicemen took pictures of themselves saying: “I did not join the US military to fight with Al-Qaeda in Syria” says it all), if they had made that move, there would have been an open revolution. The powers that be know that people are primed and ready to take major steps to stop this, and again, American patriots are going to go [into] Congress and the White House eventually and arrest these cowards and traitors. But it’s under the surface right now, it’s getting ready and to show the power of the people – ultimately we did not go into Syria; this is because people did not provide one key element for the powers that be, and that is their consent. If they don’t have our consent, they can’t do a damn thing.
SS: So you actually bring me to my next point, which is Syria. You’re saying the allegations in the Western press that it wasn’t Syria but Iran that was the actual goal, the final goal, are true. What happens now if Assad starts to look like he is finally achieving a decisive victory, how will the US respond, do you think?
KK: Again, keep in mind that the real problem that Assad faces is that, well, yes, there are major human rights violations that happen in Syria and then in every other Arab country, and the US and the Western world – ultimately there are human rights violations of obscene levels, especially in the US. So they are in no position to talk about other leaders – our leaders, the US president can execute anyone, anywhere, anytime – and he does. So how can we talk about Bashar Al-Assad seriously and say that this man is a problem…
SS: Oh, Kenneth, they will talk about that and [say] the world listens to the American president, that’s the difference. They will talk about that, they keep talking about it. That was the whole purpose of why they wanted to overthrow Assad, because there were supposedly human rights violations in Syria.
KK: The point that I’m making is that the US has given himself the authority to execute anyone, anywhere, anytime for any pretext, any bogus reason. Is that more of a problem to the world than Bashar Al-Assad? Of course it is! It’s much more of a problem that the president of the US says he can execute anyone, anywhere anytime, and yet we’re sitting here talking about Bashar Al-Assad which, granted, this man has committed crimes in Syria, there’s no question of that. But when we look at the US president, when we look at Israel, we look at Britain – that alliance, this true Axis of Evil between these three countries. The amount of devastation that has occurred in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in other parts of world – Yemen, Pakistan – it’s so devastating, I think its beggars belief that we as people can be conned into thinking that Bashar Al-Assad is the problem, or that Ahmadinejad was the problem. We are the problem; we in the West are the problem, especially the US government. It really is quite ridiculous that we get manipulated into saying, “Oh, we have to take care of this problem over there.” The problem is in our own backyard, and we know this. We better take care of our dirty, filthy House of corruption. The US Congress is nothing but a den of traitors, the most sycophantic, disgusting traitors you can imagine, and the White House has got a dictator. This is a problem; this is a major problem, a much bigger problem than what’s happening in Syria or Bashar Al-Assad.
SS: Now, you have great knowledge and strong opinions about events in the Middle East. Iran has recently softened its attitude toward its opponent after decades of deadlock. Israel is annoyed. How do you see that developing?
KK: I think it’s a reflection of the sanity of people around the world who realize that any kind of attack on Iran is tantamount to initiating a full-scale Third World War, which of course could very well and almost inevitably would lead to a war with China and Russia. This is pure madness and those of us who’ve lost loved ones or who have served in combat like myself, and others who know the devastating cost of war, not just for the so-called “victor” – because the only victor really is the bankers, quite frankly – but even those who are supposedly on the winning side suffer greatly, and testimony to that fact aside from 1 million to 2 million dead in Iraq is the 22 American servicemen a day who are committing suicide because of the horrendous things that they were told to do in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. This policy, this shift in policy to actually resolve this conflict with Iran, this false conflict, in truth – is a reflection of the will of the people, if you ask me, who are starting to achieve their goal.
SS: You think Netanyahu is bluffing, because I’ve spoken to a couple of Israeli parliamentarians, I’ve spoken to Israelis – and they all are for a strike.
KK: No, I don’t think he is bluffing, he is an absolute psychopath and he reflects the agenda for the powers that be in Israel. Each one of these players – Netanyahu, George W. Bush, Obama, Cameron – they are all puppets and they all are supposed to read a different script at different times, depending on what the agenda is. The agenda is shifting slightly. It looks like Israel and the people of Israel, the Jewish state of Israel, are like sheep being led into slaughter, because ultimately the policies of Israel are completely and totally unsustainable. Even the CIA said in 2009 that Israel would not even exist within 20 years. Henry Kissinger himself said it wouldn’t exist in 10 years, and the reason why is because its policies are totally self-destructive. The puppet masters are quite happy to sacrifice the people of Israel, they are going to destroy themselves if they do attack Iran, because Iran can fight back and does have allies, and a lot of countries are sick and tired of Israel’s threats to both its immediate neighbors and even the rest of the world. When we look at the Samson Option, I encourage people to Google “Samson Option” and look at the threat Israel has posed to the world if things don’t go its way.
SS: When you talk about the US, [it’s] Israel’s main supporter – but right now we see that it’s kind of open to Iran as well, knowing, how much anxiety that raises among Israelis – what does it tell you about the US?
KK: It tells me that people are beginning to realize their power. I think there are things that correlate – the approval rating for Barack Obama and the US Congress is as low as it’s possible to get, somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 percent, 20 percent maximum. The people have come to a point where they are sick and tired of being lied to, they know they are being lied to, and when they see their so-called leaders try to cooperate with Israel and get another war that would lead to disastrous consequences for the region and for the US and every other person involved – they’ve had it. The reflection of the policies is indeed that of the people, it’s the people who are sick and tired. I do see that there is some demarcation going on between Israel and the US, but this is because the power of people is rising - and as we saw on Syria, the Congress and the president were all basically saying, “The red line was crossed, blah-blah-blah,” and this blatantly false flag attack in Ghouta in Syria has backfired, they were not able to carry out this agenda, and this is only empowering the people that much further.
SS: So you think Iran should be allowed to develop its nuclear program?
KK: I think it’s absolutely hypocritical and insane that we would sit here and fixate on Iran and its supposed nuclear weapons program, which I don’t believe exists, but nonetheless, who could blame Iran if they were developing nuclear weapons? If the US and the West taught any lessons to the rest of the world with the invasion and occupation of Iraq it was that Saddam Hussein was a fool for actually disarming, because by disarming all he did was make that much easier for the empire to come in and destroy the entire country. So the lesson we teach to the world is that the best way to defend yourself is to get yourself a nuclear weapon, and of course the biggest culprit of using nuclear weapons and producing nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction is my birth nation, the US, and I find it absolute insane that we sit here and talk about Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons program when we know the US is producing every kind of weapon under this sun. It is spending more than any other military on the planet combined, and it’s involved in more war, more death and more suffering than any other nation combined. And yet it’s sitting there on a pedestal talking about other nations developing weapons of mass destruction? It is insane that we even allow them to do this, the first nation that needs to disarm without questions is the US, and the first nation to be charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity is my birth nation – the United States. Once we start seeing actions like this, then we’ll know the people in positions of power are serious, because ultimately the rest of the world is sick and tired of the impunity and continuous threats of a Third World War. We’ve reached the point now when human beings around the planet are realizing we can’t do this. We can’t have a Third World War, this is not a game.
SS: But you haven’t answered my question – do you think Iran should be able to develop its nuclear program?
KK: I think that every nation should disarm right now, every nation that has a weapons program should be inspected by a legitimate international body and those nations with the highest amount of WMDs, nuclear weapons should be the first ones to start disarming. When those nations start disarming, then I would say that the rest of the world will also have to show that it’s disarming as well. While the US is able to maintain the largest military might in the history of the world and continues to use those weapons against all other countries, I only see it as a pure hypocrisy that the West would say that other countries can’t have such things. I don’t want any weapons in this world, but it’s not right for us in the West and particular for the US to say that we can have all these weapons and for the rest of the world – we’ll bomb you to the Stone Age if you even try to think to defend yourself. It’s beyond hypocrisy, it’s ridiculous. The US needs to disarm first, and the world needs to assist on that.
SS: I’ve read in your blog that you said this world needs one thing above all others – and that’s sanity. But doesn’t sanity depend on what side of the argument you’re on?
KK: No, I think we were all sane when we were children and unfortunately what passes as education is actually an indoctrination and through indoctrination we’ve turned into really largely a bunch of dupes who’ve enslaved ourselves without even knowing it, but when you regain the capacity to think for yourself, to actually become human, it becomes very clear. For instance, if we look at these politicians who are historically lying to us, over and over and over again, and we realize that the war-making are absolutely inherently interested in perpetuating war, and if we look at the people in the positions of power, we see how they continuously reap major bonuses with the banks – they get bailouts to the tune of trillions and yet we’re being told that we’re not working hard enough, that we’re in debt. All of these things combined lead us to the point when we reach a certain level of sanity, and realize: “You know what? This entire system does not represent me,” and in fact every person on this planet is fighting the same enemy. That enemy uses the financial system to enslave all of us. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out; in fact more and more people are figuring this out. A point of sanity brings us to the point when we realize: “Enough, this is a game that cannot be played, we’re risking our own collective suicide here and as a sane person I will not contribute in any way towards this never-ending policy of war which is leading us to the brink of destruction". This is not about being intelligent, this is about being sane first and foremost. The average person can understand this very easily.
SS: I know that you have renounced your US citizenship more than twice, three times I think. Having a US passport is a dream for so many people. What’s so wrong with it, I mean you don’t have to agree with US policies, but is America all that bad?
KK: When you look at citizenship, you have to understand that citizenship is a social contract between the state and the citizen. Under that contract you have, supposedly, rights and you also have obligations. Now, I look at the obligations of being a US citizen and I realized I cannot pay into a tax system which is basically paying up debt to the bankers, but nonetheless, we pay into a tax system which is used to produce military capability that is also ultimately used in other parts of the world, which is ultimately killing my brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. I do not agree to contribute to a tax system that is being used to commit mass murder against people I consider to be my brothers and sisters halfway around the world. It’s violation of my ethics as a man, of someone who believes in justice for everyone and wants a better world for everyone. I cannot pay for the murder of my brothers and sisters – and that’s part of the contract of citizenship. So I said, which was to me a sensible thing and a moral thing to do, “Take my name off of that contract, because I do not agree to it and ultimately I will walk away.” I left a paradise life in Hawaii, had my own business, I was making money, lived on the beach, and did something I loved. I had a beautiful, beautiful life and I walked from that, because I absolutely, 100 percent disagree with the actions of my birth nation and I find them so criminal that I need my name taken off that list. I will enter into a contract again with the US if indeed it carries itself with honor and will respect the US Constitution; if the US Constitution is indeed made the supreme law of the United States, then I will happily come back to my nation and adhere to the contract.
SS: Why did it take so many times to renounce this citizenship to actually terminate it? Were the Americans holding on to you for some special reason? Should it be just easy to renounce, to say, “I don’t want to be a citizen anymore, period”?
KK: It’s a difficult process. It’s costly, you have to leave the country, you have to swear under oath, you have to hand over your passport, you have to fill up the forms – I’ve done all that. I would argue that probably the reason why they have not honored my right of self-determination, a human right of self-determination, is because it could have set the precedent, which could spark an imaginative idea that people can look out around the world and say, “You know what? I don’t actually agree with this contract with my nation any longer, I want to enter into a new contract.” This is why I refer to myself as a world citizen, we’re all world citizens. My human family is where my allegiance goes; I don’t give my allegiance to one unit, one group, one nation, one religion. My whole human family is my brothers and sisters and ultimately I give my allegiance to them. That’s the contract I will honor and if any other contract, inferior to that one, will try to compel me to pay for the murder of my brothers and sisters – I will not partake in that contract. I’m living here in the UK and haven’t made enough money to even be taxable for the last 12 years, but I might make enough money this year to actually be taxable, and I’ll tell you what: I will not pay into the UK tax system and fund the murder of my brothers and sisters halfway around the world. I simply refuse to do it, and I would argue that other people should look at the contract like that and, maybe, if we all decide to enter into a new contract like that we can end war for good.
SS: So you say you’re a world citizen. Is there any place that you love more than others? Why are you living in the UK if you don’t like UK policies?
KK: I love Hawaii. My adopted homeland is Hawaii, and the Hawaiian nation was stolen by the US in 1893, and yet, there are my Hawaiian brothers and sisters who are Hawaiian nationals and who know who they are and have not forgotten who they are, and take pride in who they are. If they have their way, and I have my way, the Hawaiian nation will no longer be a military outpost for the US launching its wars of aggression against everybody, the latest boogeyman. Hawaii is the place that I long to live, I plan to return there, but I want the empire out of Hawaii – Hawaii is not an extension of the US empire, it is a Hawaiian nation, and the people of Hawaii, the Kanaka Maoli deserve to have their nation back.
SS: Thank you for so much for this wonderful, interesting interview. That’s it for today, folks, and we will see you in the next edition of Sophie & Co.