Monday, 21 October 2013

A Tricky Legal Question ...

There must be an irony in the situation of the Greenpeace 'activists' facing long jail terms in Russia at present. The organisation is always very quick to exploit "International Law" when it suits their cause, often causing major disruptions and expense for those who can least afford it, but now they are suffering from the effects of a much older "International" law. Maritime Law has long defined "piracy" in pretty clear terms. It is the attempt to seize a vessel at sea upon lawful occasion, and deprive its owners of the ship or its cargo. By extension, this applies to offshore platforms and drill ships. Thus, attempting to board one in order to prevent its use in the lawful pursuit of exploration of natural resources - especially within the territorial waters of the nation whose "flag" it would carry if it were a ship, is piracy.

I was stirred into a bit of research on this by the current bombardment of emails and Facebook postings asking me (and everyone else) to sign an e-petition demanding the release of Greenpeace's crew and ship following their stupid attempt to board a Russian oil exploration platform. The Russians don't mess about, their Spetznaz unit was on hand, and the Greenpeace ship was arrested, their boarders captured and now they are in jail while the Russians decide what they're going to do to send the message they will not be blackmailed by a protest group which sees itself as some sort of global super government agency able to take whatever action it deems necessary to impose its ideological and political vision. The former Communist totalitarianism may be gone, but the Russians aren't the kind of people to take orders from a bunch of western bleeding hearts.

While I have some sympathy with many of Greenpeace's ideals, namely the protection of rain forests, sensitive reef systems, declining species and so on, I do not subscribe to their 'direct action' tactics or to their propaganda campaigns based on the premise of 'apocalypse now'. The problem, as I see it, is that a well meant voluntary movement has become a multi-billion pound Non-Governmental Organisation run and managed by political ideologues who enjoy six figure incomes from the proceeds of the fund raising and campaigning, while exploiting young volunteer idealists and adventurers to further their vision of global government. Their planned reduction of the use of 'carbon' producing fuels is not producing the results they claim to want, but the kickbacks from the producers of wind farms, solar panels and so on is certainly filling their pockets and coffers. Their proposals are largely anti-industrial, anti-capital and, by extension, anti-humanity. Why? Largely because it is only by industrialisation that we can sustain and feed the current population of the globe.

Thus, if we drive 'capital' out of the west - one of their declared objectives - and impose a 'redistributive' economy (another declared objective), we can expect to see a rapid decline in living standards for a majority, and a rise in dependence on handouts among those trapped in the lower end of the economy. Of course, the Greenpeace ideologues don't like to admit it, but the real purpose is to achieve a reduction in numbers and an end to 'consumption' economies. Some probably do believe that a forced return to subsistence and self-supporting 'village' community life will bring about a sort of idyllic Utopia, and their followers certainly seem to think that the electricity erratically generated by a few windmills will enable them to continue to enjoy the benefits of their electronic lifestyles, but, frankly, that is where ideology and reality are at opposite ends of the galaxy.

It amused me in this past week, to hear a Greenpeace spokesperson stating that their boarding team were 'peaceful and offered no threat' in their attempt to board the rig, before going on the claim that the defenders used 'disproportionate force' to prevent it. The point missed by this earnest buffoon is that the boarding attempt was, in itself, a form of 'threat' irrespective of whether they attempted to use violence to seize the platform. The operations on these rigs is extremely dangerous, and having some untrained idiot activist running loose on one attempting to tamper with valves, tie banners or anything else to it endangers everyone on the rig. That is a threat that cannot be ignored or tolerated.

No, I will not be signing the Greenpeace petitions. They have committed piracy, and it is time they were brought to heel. No, I will not be giving them any donations to help 'defend' their actions either. Piracy is piracy, just as any form of terror tactics is an attempt to bully people into accepting the minority view as the only option. 'Direct action' is just that, an attempt to use the threat of being deprived of access to your employment, your income, the heating of your home or the use of your car, by a small and often obnoxious minority to impose their minority view on a majority. Sometimes it borders on terrorism, and terrorism is unacceptable in any society.

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