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Arctic Oil Meets Greenpeace Activists

Greenpeace activists confront Russia’s Arctic oil drilling. Now they’re deep in prison and charged with piracy.  We go to the Arctic, and the prison.

Russian Coast Guards seize the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise, following a protest by Greenpeace activists at a Russian oil platform in the Pechora Sea, off the coast of Russia. Greenpeace said Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 that four activists and a journalist who were detained after protesting at a Russian oil platform have been charged with piracy and could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty. (AP)

Russian Coast Guards seize the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise, following a protest by Greenpeace activists at a Russian oil platform in the Pechora Sea, off the coast of Russia. Greenpeace said Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 that four activists and a journalist who were detained after protesting at a Russian oil platform have been charged with piracy and could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty. (AP)

Never mind for a minute Tom Hanks and “Captain Phillips” and Somali pirates.  Very far from Somalia’s blistering heat, we’ve got piracy charges in the Russian Arctic, Greenpeace protesters shouting sham, an American ship’s captain Peter Wilcox, and 29 more, in a Murmansk prison for protesting oil drilling in the melting North.  It was high Arctic drama on September 18, when Russian commandos rope-lined from helicopters onto Greenpeace protesters by a giant rig.  Now it’s piracy charges and global protest.  Up next On Point:  Arctic oil, Russian crackdown and Greenpeace in prison.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Daniel Sandford, Moscow correspondent for the BBC. (@BBCDanielS)

Phil Radford, executive director of Greenpeace USA. (@Phill_Radford)

Veronica Dmitriyeva, partner of radio journalist and Greenpeace press security Andrey Allakhverdov, who is currently being detained by Russian officials on “suspicion of piracy.” (@DMVeronica)

Heather Conley, senior fellow and director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (@CSIS)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Guardian: Russian investigators claim Greenpeace ship carried ‘narcotic substances’ — “Russian investigators have raised the stakes in their battle with Greenpeace, claiming drugs have been found aboard the organisation’s ship, the Arctic Sunrise. They also said a number of Greenpeace activists had put the lives of Russian coastguards at risk with their actions, and announced that new charges are in preparation against some of the 30 people currently in detention. All of those arrested, who are from 18 countries and include six Britons, have already been charged with ‘piracy as part of an organised group,’ a charge which carries a sentence of between 10 and 15 years in prison. The 30 were arrested and their ship seized during a protest against the Prirazlomnaya oil rig, located in the Arctic waters of the Pechora Sea and operated by Russian energy giant Gazprom.”

Reuters: Greenpeace head offers himself as security to win bail for ‘piracy’ activists –  “The head of Greenpeace offered on Wednesday to move to Russia and stand as security for the release on bail of 30 people who were detained and charged with piracy by Russian authorities after protesting against oil drilling in the Arctic. The offer was made in a letter written by Kumi Naidoo to Russian President Vladimir Putin that was seen by Reuters and sent on Wednesday. It follows a Russian court’s decision to refuse bail to three of the detainees.”

CNN: Greenpeace disputes Russia’s claim it found drugs on Arctic Sunrise – “The 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists who were arrested on the ship as they protested Arctic drilling already face piracy charges. All 30 pleaded not guilty in court last week. The Investigative Committee said Russian experts were looking into the ‘origin and purpose’ of the drugs seized, which it described as ‘presumably opium straw and morphine.’ Greenpeace said the claim that Russian authorities had found drugs on the vessel ‘is a smear, it’s a fabrication, pure and simple.’”

Watch The Altercation Between Greenpeace Activists and The Crew of a Russian Oil Rig

(Video Courtesy The Guardian Media)

Watch Another Video From the Altercation (Courtesy Greenpeace)

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