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72 Year-Old Gandhian, Jeff Knaebel, Ends Life After Stateless Declaration And 2000-Km Walk.



72 Year-Old Gandhian, Author Ends Life After Stateless Declaration And 2000-Km Walk.
Jaipur, India,  January 27, 2011

An international Gandhian protester, author and self-proclaimed "stateless citizen" is dead at 72.  The body of American expatriate, Jeff Knaebel, was found January 25th near the ancient site of Bairat (ViratNagar) in District Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, having succumbed to suicide by fire.  The ancient Buddhist site had great historical and personal significance to Knaebel.

The author, known for his 2006 publication, "Experiments in Moral Sovereignty; Notes of An American Exile, was a former mining engineer and tax expatriate who destroyed his passport and Indian Visa in New Delhi at the Gandhi Samadhi in 2009, proclaiming that it is "unconscionable and morally repugnant to live as a slave."  Knaebel regularly stated in his thousands of published articles that taxation and restriction of domicile and travel was tantamount to slavery, especially in the face of government spending on war not specifically condoned by the taxpayer. He also stated that continued paying of taxes to any government constitutes a full endorsement of all activities of that government.

Knaebel spent the last few years of his life writing about life, death, politics, and his views on government and proper ways to live; published regularly at,, and, as well as numerous other sites.  His last text, an open letter to the President of the United States and to the Prime Minister of India, is attached below

For more information about Jeff Kanebel, please contact his editor and distributor, Carl Watner at

Open Letter to President of USA and Prime Minister of India  

From: Jeff Knaebel, Moral Sovereign - January 2011 

Subject: My Final Satyagraha for Nonviolence and Freedom

For a long time the Government of the USA (“USG”) has been the world's leading merchant of death and destruction.  Throughout my entire lifetime of 72 years the USG has been committing horrible crimes against humanity and all life. The sustained systematic psychopathic practices of the USG have launched humanity on a path to extinction.  Mahatma Gandhi said upon the atomic bombing of Hiroshima that unless we adopted a nonviolent way of life, it spelled the suicide of the human species.  Daily he is being proven correct.

As a citizen-slave of the USG I have been coerced to pay taxes which are then employed in bloody wars of aggression and coercive international economic practices which exploit weaker peoples whose lives, cultures, and ecologies are destroyed in the process.  While dwelling in the land of my birth I was not permitted to withdraw from citizenship and the concomitant complicity in mass murder which USG citizenship entailed.  Therefore I chose to come to India, and eventually decided to renounce my USG citizenship, and to destroy my United States passport and other government identity documents at the Gandhi Samadhi, Rajghat, New Delhi on 19 June 2009.

I acted in protest of government denial of my right to exist as a natural human living with respect for all life and answering to my own conscience.  By requirement of identification and travel documents and permits both the USG and the Government of India (“GOI”) mark me as a piece of property to be regulated and controlled as the human equivalent of a dog on a leash.  By my self-directed death I demonstrate my refusal to be the slave of either government.

To the Prime Minister of India (GOI), I refer the attached letter of 20 October 2010 from the General Counsel of The World Service Authority, which cites the violations by GOI of my human rights under the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and International Law.

The GOI, acting through its police and the orders of its Supreme Court, has prohibited my freedom of movement and has denied me access to shelter pursuant to threat of FIR against any person who would host me.  In thus pronouncing me to be an illegal human being, the GOI has denied my right to exist.  A person cannot survive without freedom of movement and shelter.

My petition for Statelessness, denied by your Supreme Court, was based upon the clear fact that to change citizenship would only be to change the name of my slave master, for the GOI engages in many life-destroying and murderous actions against its own citizens, and also seeks "Strategic Partnership" with the war criminal USG.
By my death I send my answer to the rulers of the Corporate State who value property and profit more than human life and the life of Earth herself.  In refusing to live as a slave I also extend to both of you my metta-karuna (compassion and loving-kindness), for if one examines deeply he will find that the corporate master is more tightly bound than the slave, for the slaves are powerless to come out of it, while the Powers That Be have free will that they fail to exercise because of addictive enslavement to power.  For the corporate rulers, the power to manipulate and control other people has become an end in itself.  They will no longer control me. 

My wish for you is that you come to see the intrinsic evil of the governments which you head, and resign from your official positions, understanding that the people need no institutionally imposed 'leaders.'

My campaign of Satyagraha has made it clear for all to see that under law and practice of both USG and GOI, a person striving for nonviolence at even the most rudimentary levels of non-support of killing is denied by law the right to exist.  It is not by the laws of the Corporate State that humanity will find peace and justice, for such law is conceived in the womb of greed and implemented through the violence of power.

I give my life to the cause of nonviolence.  I wish not to live under coercion to support the cruel inhumanity of either of your governments.  I wish not to live under control of governments who possess neither the wisdom, nor the virtue, nor the right to exercise power over human life.

Only through fellow-feeling and loving-kindness can mankind survive on our small and crowded planet. We must share this Earth equally and with respect among all.  I have acted out of love to try to send a warning to my fellowmen, and I send to each of you my sincere feelings of kindness and my prayers for your peace, happiness and harmony.

May peace and goodwill prevail among all men. May you both abide in well-being,

 Signed - Jeff Knaebel 


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Comment by Dave McClave on May 14, 2011 at 20:17

The later years of Jeff's life can be described as nothing less than tragedy.  He had a heart for the planet and the people on it, but his vision was clouded by his hatred of the things people do. We, as humans, do terrible things to each other, our planet, and ourselves.  He could have had a very peaceful life, even as a "non-citizen," if only he had MADE THE CHOICE to lead a peaceful life.  I can tell you I was present for many events where authorities had told him to go live peacefully any way he chose, but he constantly and publicly confronted them.  The people around Jeff had little choice in their action; he forced their hands many times.  He had all the choice in the world, however.  I still mourn his passing.  I miss him, and I pray for his family all the time.

-Dave McClave 

Comment by Bernard "Bernie" Meyer on February 2, 2011 at 5:57

I just discovered the news of Jeff's death by his own hand while reading his rationale to the US President and the Indian Prime Minister. I met Jeff once a few years ago and read his book. While I share many of his views on governments and violence, I cannot identify with the extent of condemnation. There are times that I look about for a better place to live, to live more humanly. I respect his efforts toward truth and nonviolence, and I would that I had opportunity to discuss these matters with him. I am sobered by this news and need to let the inscrutable settle in.


I pray for his wife, Delia Maria, whom Jeff left awhile back. She is a wonderful and commited woman, commited to justice and peace, as Gandhi's way.

Comment by Dr.KRISHNAMURTHY NIDIMORU on February 1, 2011 at 18:41

This is a shocking news and it's supreme  sacrifice compared to the example of DADHICHI in Srimad Bhagavatha.The Sage Dadhichi willingly ended his life at the request of the Devas,so that The King of Gods,INDRA can have the weapon Vajra made of the vertebrae from the sage's skeleton.I hope the powers at the helm of affairs in INDIA and USA take note of his sacrifice and act according to Gandhiji's teachings.

May his soul rest in peace.My heart goes out to Della Maria Knabel and offer my heart felt condolences on the irreparable loss of her husband,true gandhian and great warrior of peace.



Comment by Balamurali Balaji on January 29, 2011 at 8:54

This is a shocking and saddening news for me as I was reading his writings for many years(even some of them in Mahatma Gandhi community forum) and this tragic end to his life is incredible and injustifiable for all his efforts and gandhian stance he took for his love for truth and non-violence.


May his soul rest in peace. Sure, the community lost a great warrior, gandhian thinker.


Comment by Delia Maria Knaebel on January 29, 2011 at 5:44



My government was willing to give Jeff citizenship on the grounds of having married me an Indian citizen.  I had many visits to my home from the police who were sympathetic to his ideas and willing to cooperate.  India is a home to a number of people from other parts of the world who live here in peace even without papers.  In Pune city itself, there are over thirty families from the middle east and Africa. the Gandhi National Memorial at the Aga Khan Palace takes care of them legally.  All he had to do was to come back to his Pune home and the Gandhians here who would have helped him.

May his soul rest in peace.

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