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« Manifest Destiny? | Main | You Don't Say... »

The New Childrens' Crusade

The human shields are suffering severe attrition in the Balkans and Turkey, from lack of funds, unity and leadership. Some choice bits, for those who don't want to register for the Times of London:

The rows started almost as soon as the group left London a fortnight ago, with arguments over which routes to take. A black bus owned by Ken Nichols O?Keefe, 33, a tattooed former US marine and Gulf war veteran, and full of young firebrands, drove through Germany ? with a sightseeing stop-off at Dachau concentration camp ? to Italy even though the vehicle was too tall for the Alpine tunnels and scraped its roof.

Another bus, one of the lumbering Routemasters owned by Letts, drove through France and waited for Nichols O?Keefe in Milan.

The tension was compounded when a group of Italian peace campaigners in designer clothes joined the Britons, many of whom are elderly activists wearing hippie-style clothes and cooking lentils aboard the buses.

Lentils, eh? Hmmm...are they plotting a little gas warfare of their own?

Instead of heading towards their objective, the peaceniks took a detour to Rome last Sunday for sightseeing.

In addition to taking detours on the excellent adventure, some of the cadres are insufficiently worshipful of their supreme leader.

Most of them eventually caught a ferry to Greece, but Nichols O?Keefe and a handful of others stayed behind with a stricken bus before flying to join the others. He was promptly detained in Istanbul and deported back to Italy.

He has angered other peaceniks by planning to meet Saddam on his arrival in Baghdad. At least five have returned home rather than deal with him and a Welsh couple have set out to reach the Iraqi capital on their own.

?People have got so fed up with him that they have dropped out,? said Letts. Nichols O?Keefe was dubbed ?the messiah? and ?Gandhi? by his less-than- enthusiastic fellow travellers. He had warned them any breakdowns ?would be the work of the CIA?.

Ahhh...the psyops is working.

He is being held this weekend in an Italian jail and is facing deportation to the United States. His mother, Pat, who is continuing on the journey to Baghdad, said: ?That would be the very worst outcome. It would be a disaster for him.?

Yes, and a tragedy for the burgeoning peace movement as well.


Many participants are concerned they will run short of money and are unhappy at the prospect of a compulsory HIV test on the Iraqi border, about which they were not warned until this weekend.

?We are buying our own hypodermic syringes?, said Williams. ?They could just as easily give you HIV with the needles in Iraq.?

Yes, American smart bombs are one thing, but they didn't think they'd have to face those brutal Iraqi needles...

Posted by Rand Simberg at February 09, 2003 01:14 PM
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Human shields?
Excerpt: It seems the European human shield movement is having some difficulties.
Weblog: Inoperable Terran
Tracked: February 9, 2003 04:12 PM
Excerpt: Rand Simburg has this hilarious post on the continuing progress of the human shields headed for Iraq.
Weblog: Gweilo Diaries
Tracked: February 9, 2003 07:58 PM

But they have not the slightest problem forcing the people of Iraq to submit to Saddam's "needles" and worse, basically for the rest of time.

Ah, but they are just Iraqi proles, not the elightened Western vanguard, so who really cares?

Posted by Andrew X at February 9, 2003 01:23 PM

"Peacenik human shields" and "attrition." Two great concepts that go great together!

Posted by Joe Katzman at February 9, 2003 01:58 PM

"Ahhh...the psyops is working."

Posted by Kathy K at February 9, 2003 02:51 PM

Could it be that the attack on Iraq is being
put on hold until all these human shields
arrive in Iraq?

Posted by E Moo at February 9, 2003 03:02 PM

Marvelous reportage and commentary!
As you said, "Hilarious!"
If they are to be "invaded" by supporters like these, Iraq may surrender to us without a shot being fired.

Posted by Jennie Taliaferro at February 9, 2003 03:49 PM

This is sooooo funny. I hope some generous folks in the U.S. will round up the wherewithall to help these people reach Baghdad. Does the U.S. Air Force have a few seats to spare that'll get them as far as Qatar?

Posted by Bill Peschel at February 9, 2003 03:53 PM

Please pardon the shameless self promotion, but check here for the amazing details of O'Keefe's "world passport" which failed to get him into Turkey. Serious wingnuttery indeed.

Posted by Cracker Barrel Philosopher at February 9, 2003 04:12 PM

The United States doesn't actually have to take this O'Keefe character back, right? Didn't he renounce his citizenship?

Posted by E. Nough at February 9, 2003 04:15 PM

Any Elvis sightings among these folks yet? Or Jackie O?

Posted by Francis W. Porretto at February 10, 2003 05:35 AM

I'm with E. Nough didn't this jacka$$ denounce his citizenship? Why should we have take in ex-citizens no one else will except in their respective countries?

I have more respect for Jane Fondle than for O'Keefe. At least Jane had the guts to come back and stand by her convictions here at home. I may not have agreed with her ideas, but I took an oath to defend her right to freedom of speech, and I still would.

Do like the Ayatollah Kakamaymee did, O'Keefe go to France. They should love to take in any peace loving, Islamic Extremist loving, ex-Marine, ex-U.S. citizen. You'd fit right in, until you tried to tell THEM how to run their country, bet you'd miss your freedom of speech then. Given the fact you're in jail now you may already miss it.

Posted by Steve at February 10, 2003 12:08 PM

Regime Change-->
-->New Regime-->
Old Human shields =
Accessories-before-the-fact and therefore
enemies of the new state.

Now wouldn't it be delicious if the shield-people wound up bargaining for their lives with relatives of those tortured and killed by their former hero.

Icing = "Dubya, SAVE us!!"

Posted by Stephen at February 10, 2003 02:30 PM

As usual for most news sites, the user/password "cypherpunk" will get you in.

Posted by Rick C at February 11, 2003 02:57 PM

OK, I hate being pedantic, but I gotta tell you, since they're one of my favorite foods - lentils, while legumes, are not suitable feedstocks for producing natural gases. :-)

Posted by marcus at February 11, 2003 03:28 PM

If they're one of your favorite foods, they'll have much less errmmm...effect on you. The same is true of other legumes. People who eat beans regularly (no pun intended) don't have the problems that people do who eat them occasionally.

Posted by Rand Simberg at February 11, 2003 07:23 PM

Where do people like this get the money for busses, slow Euro tours, and hypo needles? My wife and I make about 100k a year and still do not have money for such foolishness! How much does a human shield make a year? I thought conservatives had all the money and liberals were poor. Maybe I need a career and a political change!

Posted by Bill Kirk at February 14, 2003 07:54 AM

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