Sunday December 8, 2013
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Russia is developing a large oil field in the Pechora Sea, which lies just off its northern coast in about the same relationship to Northern Russia as do the waters off the north side of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Gazprom, a Russian oil company which has been granted a license to drill in the area, which contains an immense oil field, recently towed a large oil platform, the first offshore rig in the Arctic, into place. The Russian company has been drilling and plans to start pumping oil sometime this year.
In late September, 30 activists from 18 countries arrived in the waters on a Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise. Small inflatable boats launched from the Greepeace ship sped toward the platform. Activists began swarming aboard.
However, a Russian Coast Guard ship had been alerted earlier and arrived at the crucial moment. Two activists who had managed to get aboard the oil rig were quickly arrested as the rest sped back to their ship. However, the Coast Guard took over the ship, and towed it into Kulonga Bay near Severomorsk, 15 miles north of Murmansk.
Not surprisingly, The Investigative Committee, Russia's FBI, said its agents will question all those who took part in the act and detain the "most active" of them on piracy charges. Piracy carries a potential prison sentence in Russia of up to 15 years and a fine of about $15,500.
Vladimir Markin, Investigative Committee spokesman, said in a statement, "When a foreign vessel full of electronic technical equipment of unknown purpose and a group of people calling themselves members of an environmental rights organization try nothing less than to take a drilling platform by storm, logical doubts arise about their intentions."
He added the activists posed a danger to operations on the oil platform. "Such activities not only infringe on the sovereignty of a state, but might pose a threat to the environmental security of the whole region," Markin said.
Geenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo has responded by saying, "Peaceful activism is crucial when governments around the world have failed to respond to dire scientific warnings about the consequences of climate change in the Arctic and elsewhere."
One Greenpeace activist told the Associated Press that Coast Guard officers hit and kicked some activists when they stormed the Greenpeace vessel.
Diplomats were allowed to board the Arctic Sunrise for two hours to meet with activists from their countries. Later Tuesday, the activists were driven to the Investigative Committee's headquarters in Murmansk.
Well? How do you feel about all that?
Is that what you call "peaceful?"
There are a lot of issues with the use of "peaceful" when there are actually laws being violated. One of the environmentalists favorite tactics is the use of "peaceful protests" that are actually nothing more than direct interference with commerce, violations of private property, trespass and outright assaults, as is the case with the oil platform in the article. It is easy to take a position that "descent is the highest form of patriotism" as long as it is not your ox being gored. I have no truck with peaceful descent as long as it is conducted within the limitations of the existing laws. And it is important to note, few countries have a First Amendment as we do, so I would advise careful consideration of that point if I was taking my "protest" to some other nation's territory.
Ron, makes a good point that you have to be careful and make sure that you know and obey the laws in the country in which you are demonstrating.
However, I do believe there can be peaceful demonstrations. For example, Ghandi in India and King and the civil rights movement, the prayer vigils organized by anti-abortion groups, etc. The demonstrators do not carrying weapons, they do not assault other people, etc. When they were arrested, for the most part, they went peacefully.
Now the owners of the private property, etc. in order to carry on their commerce had the right to call the police to remove the demonstrators. And, in most cases, the police were called and the demonstrators were removed.
If you perceive a terrible wrong, and no one is paying attention, how can you get the change for the better?
P.S. Those Greenspeace people better watch out Russia probably isn't as tolerant as USA.
"If you perceive a terrible wrong, and no one is paying attention, how can you get the change for the better?"
You make a good point, but so does Ron, of course. And you are, of course, right when you say that when people demonstrate, on or interfere with, someone else's property he or she should be removed.
The questions lies in the definition of "terrible wrong." Too many people carry their thinking to extremes and become extremists to violate the right of others in trying to get some non-existent right or problem handled the way THEY think it should be handled.
Greenpeace has long been out of control. Many of the things they do actually fall under the category of hostile intervention in a lawful activity on the high seas (EG: piracy). I have read of them running their ships directly in the path of a moving vessel, tossing hand grenades filled with acid onto the decks of whalers, damaging private equipment and vessels, and doing other things for which they would be jailed if there were an international police force (which I am glad there isn't).
The Earth belongs to all the people, not to a small group of fanatics who cannot get it through their heads that protests have to be legal and that their extreme views cannot prevail.
In truth, there is no legal difference between a Greenpeace vessel interfering with someone at sea and any other terrorist group. It isn't your goal that decides whether or not you are doing the right thing; it's your actions.
What was done in the south during the civil rights movement was something very brave. Those people deliberately broke the law, feeling that they would use the courts as a means of changing laws they felt were wrong. That's a dangerous, but courageous way to do things. In a sense it's using the system, but you better be right when you try it.
Think Rosa Parks. She did more than anyone.
'you better be right when you do it" and Greenspeace better start praying.
Rosa Parks is a model for those who break the law to challenge the law. She did it peacefully and openly, and with foreknowledge of what was coming.
Greenpeace? Too many people with too much money and an odd idea that what they think is right, is right. They have no regard for property rights. Most of the ships they pick on doing whatever they do with a license from the nation they come from. They are nothing more than people trying to earn a living. Attacking them is like attacking a newsboy on the street because you think he is guilty of "noise pollution."
Greenpeace acts like a bunch of high seas thugs. In essence, because they resort to violence, they are terrorists, and should be treated as such.
What, after all, is a terrorist?
A terrorist is someone who, unable to make himself heard about some issue through legal means, resorts to violent extralegal means. Sailing across the bow of another ship at sea is illegal under international law. So is firing any kind of missiles (even a rock or a bottle) at another ship while on the high seas. And so is attempting to board a ship without the permission of its captain. And as for swarming aboard an oil platform, unless you have a visa, as well as permission to land at that specific place, you are guilty illegal entry into another nation, so never mind piracy; just apply the laws regarding legal entry.
I wonder how five years in Siberia would go over with that bunch?
A followup for you:
Russia has just changed the indictment of the Greenpeace activists from the less likely one of piracy to the lesser charge of hooliganism, which more closely fits the terrorist-like actions which are the stock in trade of the sometimes out of control organization.
Hooliganism is disruptive or unlawful behavior such as rioting, bullying, and vandalism. It carries a lower maximum sentence in Russia of only seven years, but that may not be good news for the Greenpeace activists who apparently thought they could violate with impunity the laws of the high seas with Russia as they have done with other, less aggressive, nations.
By lowering the bar, the Investigative Committee has made it more certain that all members of the group on the ship fall within the definition of the charge. That, together with the fact that the IC dismissed the Greenpeace claim that it was acting peacefully, bodes ill for their future.
The IC adds that that some crew members could face an additional charge of using violence against Russian authorities. All in all, it appears that Russia is making it plain that it will not sit by as some other nations, such as Japan, have done while Greenpeace harasses legal activities on the high seas.
If so, Greenpeace is in for a learning experience it will not relish.
How much do you know about how Greenpeace operates while on the high seas? Are you aware of the things they do? Do you agree with them?
And how do you think they will fare in Russian courtroom?
It sort of pains me to say this, being the old "Cold Warrior" I was, but it seems to me the things I am hearing coming out of Putin and the Russians, make more sense and have more logic behind them, than the things I'm hearing coming out of Washington DC.
I think anyone belonging to Greenpeace or donating money to them should be locked up. Not just the ones you are talking about on here.
Most don't have a clue.
As one of the same, I feel the same way. It's so crazy!
I listen to what DC is saying, and then to what Moscow is saying, and it's like the "old days," but in reverse. Moscow is telling it like it is and DC is fudging and smudging. Look at Syria. Russia has been right all along. And Russia was dead right on Iraq too. More people are killed and maimed in a month now than at any time under Saddam Hussein. We should have let good enough alone.
I could not agree with you more. Greenpeace should be declared a terrorist organization.
Think of it this way. Make a comparison between Greenpeace extremists and Islamic extremists:
Greenpeace: Believe that only they are right, that they are doing God's work, that they have a right to break the law, that they can and will use any means to force the world to do things their way.
Islamic extremists: Believe that only they are right, that they are doing God's work, that they have a right to break the law, that they can and will use any means to force the world to do things their way.
Terrorism is terrorism.
Just one more question. How do you feel this will affect the way Greenpeace operates?
The 30 Greenpeace members charged with hooliganism have been released on bail after spending two months behind bars.
The icebreaker's crew was made of nationals from 18 countries, including four men from Russia.
The hooliganism charges the crew face carry seven-year sentences. They are required to stay in a St Petersburg hotel pending trial.
Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov says foreigners may possibly be allowed to leave the country until the trial. A complication is that none of them have Russian visas since they were illegally in Russian waters.
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