An Open Letter to BBC Panorama’s Jane Corbin

Aloha Jane,

The author Ken O'Keefe being interviewed by Jane Corbin

As you know Panorama airedDeath in the Med’ this week. Well Jane, I have been in the media game long enough to know that moral depravity and lack of integrity are qualities that are rewarded rather than discouraged in your field of work. With such experience it is impossible for me to take commitments from someone like yourself seriously, and that is why I recorded our conversation clandestinely, a conversation in which you confirmed the agreement that was made between the BBC and myself with yourself and Alys as BBC representatives. In that agreement it was clear that I would agree to the interview if only you included the fact that we let the commandos go. Knowing that was the agreement and anticipating that I was going to confirm it once more after the interview you said;

Well its the point about we didn’t kill the commandos, we had them in… that will be in there don’t worry. (laughing) That’s, that is important for us because obviously they would say they felt their lives were in danger, to which the corollary is, well their lives could have been in danger but we let them go. I think that’s a very strong point.

So, instead of your team honouring its commitment to me, you instead aired a farcical report with multitudes of half-truths, lies, omissions and importantly, Israeli commandos who escaped rather than being set free. Let us be frank Jane, the reason for that is because it is impossible to square the whole angle that we are “terrorists” and extremists” and killers, if we let them go. It just doesn’t fit. So for BBC in this case, when the facts do not work, you lie. In an attempt to justify this, the BBC has written an insulting letter in defence of your fallacious fairytale; this is due to the torrent of complaints that have resulted from Death in the Med.


I mean what I say here Jane, I feel sorry for you. From what I can tell you do pretty well for yourself financially. BBC lauded you as one of its top journalists and no doubt you have the respect of many influential people, but when you get right down to it, you have become nothing but a propagandist. I would be willing to bet it did not start out that way, I am sure that when you were starting off the idea of selling your soul for the purpose of justifying murder with Orwellian skill was not in the plans. But somehow you have reached this point, and unless you decide to commit career suicide and admit your true role and the pressures that made you what you are today, you will die with the accolades from the powers that be, but your integrity will have died long before. I mean it Jane, I feel for you and hope you find the strength to do the right thing.

I do not expect a response from you, any more than I expected you to honour your commitment to me, or more importantly, honour the tenants of the profession we call journalism. But if you can speak the truth, I would be happy to get a response from you.

In parting Jane, nine people were murdered on that ship, 8 of them were fathers, the youngest was aiming to become a doctor. They were on that ship for the same reason I was, to help the people of Gaza, people that include over 800,000 children, innocent children. The world largely sees them as bright lights and humanitarians and your program will have done nothing to erase that, instead you have tarnished yourself and the BBC all the more. Deep down Jane this is the truth, programs like that give the insanity of blockading and bombing and otherwise terrorising innocent people more time, what you are doing in literal effect is aiding and abetting mass-murder. I could not say that but for the fact that you know as well as I, that you and your Israeli producer, Israel Goldvicht, went out of your way to produce some first class propaganda for the Zionist project known as Israel. To be blunt, I hope what is left of your conscience pains you to such a degree that the only way to relieve the pressure is to come clean. Not only will you benefit in ways that money can never provide, but you will do a service to the innocent people you currently condemn to further outrage.

It is up to you Jane, make no mistake, there are insiders within the BBC who are so disgusted with what you have done, they are making their moves from within the BBC because the benefits of prostituting themselves has finally reached its breaking point. Think about where you stand, think about the world your children will inherit, think about your legacy, and then act with your heart. That is my advice to you. Either way I wish you the best Jane, I am sorry that I lied by recording you without your knowledge; I do not like doing such things.

TJP,
Ken O’Keefe

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Author: worldcitizenko

Ken O'Keefe (born July 21, 1969) is an American born activist who renounced his US citizenship on March 1, 2001. He has since acquired Irish, Hawaiian and Palestinian citizenship. On January 7, 2004, O'Keefe burned his US passport in protest of "American Imperialism" and called for US troops to immediately withdrawal from Iraq. He replaced his US passport with a World Citizen Passport, proclaiming “ultimate allegiance to my entire human family and to planet Earth." He is a former U.S. Marine who served in the 1991 Gulf War and subsequently spoke out about the use of depleted uranium as a "crime against humanity" and the US military using soldiers as "human guinea pigs" (with experimental drugs that were directly linked to Gulf War syndrome). He is also a social entrepreneur utilising direct action marine conservation in which he pioneered endangered Green Sea Turtle rescues in Hawaii. But he is more widely known for leading the Human Shield Action to Iraq (2003) and as a survivor of the Israeli attack on the MV Mavi Marmara (2010) in which he participated in "defending the ship" and "disarming two Israeli Commandos".

18 thoughts on “An Open Letter to BBC Panorama’s Jane Corbin”

  1. ‎”So for BBC in this case, when the facts do not work, you lie.”
    There’s no way that she can remain while this truth/slander stands. Equally, Panorama’s days are numbered unless it PROVES in court that O’Keefe’s words are wrong. There is no greater sin that any journalist can commit than LIE. Indeed the BBC’s reputation and future may be linked to these few words!

  2. “A true journalist’s job is to expose government wrongdoing and propaganda, skewer hypocrites, and speak for those with no voice. And wage war against mankind’s two worst scourges: Nationalism and religious bigotry. Not to lick the boots of government.”
    ~~~ Eric Margolis

  3. Eric Margolis: A true journalist’s job is to expose government wrongdoing and propaganda, skewer hypocrites, and speak for those with no voice. And wage war against mankind’s two worst scourges: Nationalism and religious bigotry. Not to lick the boots of government.”

    BBC version: A true journalist’s job is to AID government/Zionist wrongdoing and propaganda, the hypocrites …to lick the boots of government/Zionists.

  4. The live link to the recording directs you to Facebook. I logged in but was told that the video was not available. Why is this please?

  5. Great respect, as ever Ken! You call out wonderfully these spineless corporate-media prostitutes. They have the nerve to defend their journalistic ‘honour’, in the face of the shameful, ever-pliant service to power which they do to collect their fat paycheques. They need people like you as a corrective — and as an honest, principled journalistic example.

  6. Good for you Ken O Keefe. I was appalled at this programme, and rang the BBC and was referred to the pathetic statement they put out. Jane Corbin should resign after this – it was irresponsible and dangerous reporting.

  7. I saw Ken O’Keefe on “Hard Talk” on BBC and I think he is an honorable American hero. We need more courageous Westerners who dare to speak up against what Israel is doing and to show the hypocrisy of the Western media. At least “Hard Talk” gave him the opportunity to say what he believes.
    BBC needs to get rid of journalists like Jane Corbin if it hopes to redeem itself in the eyes of the whole world.

  8. Very interesting. Thanks for posting this. As an Israeli immigrant from the UK, I watched the Panorama episode with interest. I thought Mr. O’Keefe stated his case with integrity and conviction. He was very impressive. I was also humbled by the story of the Turkish man on the boat who had defended the life of a wounded Israeli soldier. This was a story I had not heard before. The program made it clear that without this courageous action and the decision to return the soldier to his comrades, the soldier may have been beaten to death.

    I understand Mr. O’Keefe’s indignation at being misquoted. I learned a long time ago never to trust journalists. Nevertheless, the histrionics and melodrama in this open letter seem a little pouty and childish.

    Watching the program, what stands out is not the spin and interpretation of my government’s representatives, but rather the missed opportunity by the representatives of the tragically killed. The spokesperson for the IHH in Turkey when questioned about passive resistance says something like “we resisted passively until we couldn’t anymore and had to hit them.” I’m paraphrasing and I don’t mean to misrepresent his comments, but he is clearly not familiar with the concept of passive resistance.

    Also the intelligent female journalist who traveled with the Flotilla with the aim of reporting the facts does a terrific job expressing the peaceful goals of the majority on board. Unfortunately when asked the (admittedly loaded) question about whether these goals were worth the lives of 9 young men, she trots out a tellingly callous answer that nothing can be achieved without sacrifices. I was terribly disappointed to see the lives of these men dismissed as sacrifices to a greater cause. I thought these lives were tragically wasted and this instant martyrdom does a disservice to the families they leave behind.

    For me the key question was left unanswered. Five of the six ships that made up the flotilla agreed (when pressured by the Israeli navy) to redirect to Ashdod and unload their cargoes there. No one on any of those ships came to harm. My question is what was different about the Mavi Marmara? What was it about the crew or contents of this ship which made it act differently?

    Even if I agree that the blockade is illegal and Israel’s treatment of Gazans must change, I cannot support the decision to put the people on the Mavi Marmara in harm’s way. I don’t believe that Israeli soldiers would have used live ammunition had they not believed their lives to be in danger. There is simply nothing to be gained by it. Maybe they should never have been there, maybe the whole operation was illegal, but still somewhere on board the decision was taken to actively, not passively resist and the results were 9 dead men. It’s a tragedy for which Israeli intransigence and poor military decision making must take a large part of the responsibility. But I also would like to hear from the decision makers on board the ship as to why they elected to behave this way when so many of their comrades on other ships chose not to.

    I would be keen to hear Mr. O’Keefe’s answer to that.

  9. To Guiltyfeat.. You sound like a good person. but it seems to me that you are not aware of the lengths that the IDF and the Israeli state will go to, in many of its policies and operations. Please look up the video of the young 19 year old US/Turkish citizen being kicked and shot repeatedly while lying on the ground. Please listen to the testimonies of the survivors of this flotilla – the people in the other boats were beaten, abused and threatened with guns to their heads, in spite of their totally passive resistance. I have met some of these passengers here in Ireland. The reason Ken O’Keefe is so incensed is because he was there.. The Marmara was singled out for this massacre to deter any future flotillas. The fact that there were so many Muslims on board gave Israel the chance to show it’s ‘power’ and determination to maintain the siege of Gaza, while crying ‘self-defence’against ‘Muslim terrorists’. This is Israel’s ago-old strategy. If you are sure of the commandos’ innocence why have they kept the hundreds of videos from that night including the ships’ cameras.? Anyone who has seen the IDF in action against Palestinians would not be in denial about their capacity for bloodshed and their viewing of them as subhuman beings.

  10. Thanks for responding from Ireland, Mary. Both my parents were born and bred in Dublin and I’m as proud of my Irish heritage as I am of my Israeli citizenship.

    My son is 15 years old. In three years he will be conscripted for compulsory army service until the age of 21. He will serve proudly, and, if I have managed to have any influence on him at all, he will not brutalize or dehumanize any other human being. But he will serve. Just as the soldiers of Ireland and Great Britain serve to defend their country against perceived threats.

    I have three children in school here. We consider ourselves modern orthodox Jews and our children attend schools within a religious framework where they learn talmud, bible studies and philosophy alongside physics, geography and English. My oldest child has chosen to start learning Arabic this year, a course that will cover culture, poetry and history as well as language.

    None of my children have ever been taught to hate Muslims or Palestinians or to consider people of any religion or race as being subhuman. It is simply not part of the culture. It’s not part of Jewish culture and it’s not part of Israeli culture. Come visit. Talk to the children, talk to the soldiers and see for yourself.

    Come out with us for a drink or, if you want, you can smoke a hookah. But you better do those things in Israel because you won’t be allowed to do them when you visit Gaza.

    I reject your suggestion that the Marmara was singled out for a massacre. I am sadly all too aware of the IDF’s capacity for bloodshed, just as I’m sure you are aware of the bloodshed that has been caused by Palestinian suicide bombers. There is no justification on either side for unnecessary pain, but neither side holds the monopoly on causing it or, worse, wishing it.

    We have all seen the footage. The Israeli commandos boarded the Marmara brandishing paintball weapons. They also carried small arms. These are not the tools of a brutal power intent on massacre. The Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara was misguided, mishandled and, as most of my countrymen would admit, a giant screw-up. I believe the military leaders in charge of the raid must take responsibility for the actions that put Israeli soldiers’ lives at risk and that resulted in the tragic deaths of nine men. But there was no intent to massacre. There was no calculation of the number of Muslims on board and how powerful we would seem when we conquered them. We just don’t think in those racial terms.

    The Mavi Marmara, uniquely in this flotilla of six vessels, refused the offer to change course and deliver its cargo to Ashdod. In the end, the cargo from all six ships was sent over land from Ashdod to Gaza where it currently sits rotting in Hamas-controlled warehouses. This is surely the most pathetic tribute possible to those that gave their lives to reach the impoverished Gazans. Why are there not more protests about that? Why are you not incensed about the corruption and religious extremism that characterize the leadership in Gaza and that prevents ordinary citizens from receiving the aid that does get through?

    I have seen plenty of Jews and Israelis commenting all over the Internet about the mistakes Israel makes. As an Israeli citizen I exercise my democratic duty at every available opportunity and if I think my government is getting it wrong I will be vocal about it. In all my years commenting, I have never seen anyone from Gaza or any pro-Palestinian group suggest that Hamas has ever done anything wrong.

    I call on my government to end the siege of Gaza and withdraw from the West Bank closing down settlements and ending the occupation.

    Will you call for Hamas to immediately release Gilad Shalit (or, at least, give the Red Cross access to him)? Will you call on Hamas to recognize the State of Israel’s right to exist within agreed borders? Will you call on Hamas to immediately and permanently halt the indiscriminate firing of rockets into civilian areas?

    Mary, I have no doubt that you will agree to all these things. Based on the footage I saw of the Mavi Marmara hours before the raid even took place, I do not believe that everyone else there would.

  11. Jane Corbin.
    Just walk away. You are not a journo. Just walk away. You shame us all with your propaganda. JUST WALK AWAY NOW!!!

  12. Guiltyfeat,
    I’m happy to read about the extravagant and peaceful life style that you and your children are enjoying in Israel. Albeit, the length of the details are unnecessary. I’m also happy to hear that you are a peace loving family in Israel. But what I don’t understand is, how do you sleep so comfortably in your bed knowing that you are living on land that was forcibly taken away from the Palestinian? How do you so comfortably provide for your children all sorts of extra curricular classes and enjoy drinks at the bars while shamefully evicting innocent Arabs from their land so that your people can expand their living space? How do you speak so highly of the freedoms you enjoy while in Israel and invite us to have a drink or hookah with you, and say that we can not enjoy such liberties in Gaza while your govt. has created a prison wall around Gaza and controls all of what goes and comes in? I know its natural for you to defend your land and the inhuman behavior of your people, but any person who has read a few books and knows the way your government, the IDF and Mossad work, would rather hang themselves before boasting about their Israeli citizenship. I hope you get my point, and the next time you go to sleep in your air conditioned room and on your comfortable bed, spare a thought for the Arabs who may have once lived peacefully in the same space as you. Who knows when it maybe your turn to pack up and be forced out? What goes around comes around.

    Peace

    1. Hey Chris,

      Thanks for responding. I sleep perfectly comfortably, thank you. No one on any side of the political conflict disputes the ownership of my apartment. Not the Palestinians, not the people of Gaza, not the Syrians, not the Lebanese, not the UN. No one. Except you.

      I suggest you stick to the political question of justice for the Palestinians rather than peddling nonsense about the right of Israel to exist. It makes you sound like a nutter.

      It’s interesting you picked up on my invitation of a hookah. If you knew anything at all about Gaza you would have understood that the reason Mary cannot enjoy this simple pleasure there has nothing to do with my government’s closure of Gaza and everything to with the Gazan government which has a law banning women from drinking and smoking a hookah.

      How do you feel about that? Does your desire for justice for Gazans include Gazan women? How about gay Gazans? Do they deserve justice? What exactly is your stance on Hamas? How do you feel about the armed wing of Hamas (the elected government of the Palestinians) shooting pregnant civilian women in their cars? Is that OK by you given that they should already have hanged themselves for having Israeli citizenship?

      Finally, I found your ending very sinister.

      “Who knows when it maybe your turn to pack up and be forced out?” What a revolting thing to say to another human being. Shame on you.

  13. Hi Guiltyfeat,

    I just wanted to thank you for your articulate and intelligent contribution to this thread, you sound like a wonderful and peace-loving person, Shalom!

    Unfortunately you have made the classic mistake of trying to reason with these terrorist apologists (similar to Neville Chamberlain appeasing the Nazis), who will not be happy until Israel has been destroyed – most likely through the Mother of All Wars. They will never admit to this dark thought in public of course, but they wouldn’t actually be opposed to the idea of a second Holocaust, as long as we can couch it it in polite language and pin all the blame on Israel for “provoking” some kind of Islamic Jihad.

    None of these cowards is willing to acknowledge that Hamas and their mates Hezbollah are a bunch of murderous, racist, sexist, homophobic despotic thugs who hate human life, they just crave power – the very antithesis of what these Western “peace activists” (ha ha ha ha, what a joke!) should stand for. Moderate progressive Muslims who don’t fancy living under Sharia law must be horrified, whilst the Palestinians in Gaza who dare to disagree get thrown off the top of a building or used as human shields, or arrested and tortured.

    But these useful idiots of the Radical Socialist Left are willing to overlook such unpleasant details for the greater good – villifying and delegitimizing Israel, by using the mainstream media such as the BBC to spread their outrageous propaganda. But of course, you know all of this already. No-one on this page has bothered to condemn the attack on pregnant women and other atrocities against Israeli civilians, because apparently Israeli lives are worthless. Your life only counts if you’re “the underdog”.

    As for useful idiots on the Radical Left like Ken O’Keefe, they are happy to reconstruct the facts as they go along. Passive resistance – bollocks! Then why did the baying mob on this one ship need knives and guns? Released the IDF soldier? Bollocks! Then why did you kidnap him in the first place? Why did you throw another soldier off the top deck of the ship? Why did you chant anti-Jewish slogans? Why did one man speak of martyrdom? Ken’s story has more holes and inconsistencies in it than Swiss cheese. None of this can be misconstrued as “passive resistance” except by terrorist apologists who would swear that the sky was green and the Taliban are feminists if it meant Israel was to blame.

    The corrupt leaders of both the PLO and Hamas have made statements which demonstrate that neither has a sincere desire to negotiate a lasting peace with Israel as part of a two-state solution. That is not their ultimate goal at all, it’s just a staging post towards the resumption of hostilities and Israel’s complete obliteration. The PLO walked away from the Oslo Accords because they were shocked that Israel was willing to meet so many of their deliberately unreasonable demands, thereby revealing that peace talks are merely a ruse.

    Every time the Israeli govt makes real concessions, such as leaving Gaza, instead of being praised for this courageous decision, the howls of protest from the Radical Left grow even louder…. Israel is scorned by the world no matter how hard it tries to do the right thing.

    If the Palestinians want peace so badly, then why did their leaders refuse to restart the peace negotiations throughout the 18-month construction freeze? Why has Hamas not changed its charter openly stating that it wants to destroy Israel? Why has the West not demanded that any peace talks are contingent upon the Palestinians recognising that Israel has a right to exist forever within secure borders?

    If Israel has to justify its very existence on a daily basis, then all of the war-mongering people on this page should have to justify their existence as well.

    To all the anti-Zionists on this page – Jerusalem is the eternal undivided holy capital of Israel and is the centre of the Jewish faith, just as Mecca is to the Muslims. By contrast, Jerusalem is not mentioned anywhere in the Koran. Carving off East Jerusalem and giving it to a future Palestinian state would be like cutting off your own head. It’s never going to happen, so stop crying and get over it. The Palestinians should grow an imagination and find their own capital instead of trying to be deliberately provocative.

    Best wishes to you Guiltyfeat. Your willingness to engage with the friends of Islamist Jihad groups is truly admirable, though probably pointless as their heads are full of bricks. May Israel thrive and prosper forever more, it is a shining light in the darkness of the MIddle East.

    1. I agree with much of what you about the Hamas and Hizbullah, but I wouldn’t put the mainstream PA leadership in the same category. In order to ensure the future of both Israelis and Palestinians, we need to be willing to partition the country – including Jerusalem!- in the context of the 2-state solution.

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