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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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  • sickofthechit

    We live on a limited resource in the middle of nowhere. Why is that so hard for us to fathom? Charles A. Bowsher

    • notafeminista

      Because you don’t know they’re limited. All presumption.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Magical thinking will get you nowhere.

        Oil is finite.

        • notafeminista

          Assuming humans are around in 5 billion years..imagine what we will know by then.

      • nj_v2

        ^ Blurs the distinction between ignorance and stupidity.

      • Ray in VT

        So there is the potential that the resource there is unlimited? Please tell me how that works. Portal to an all oil dimension?

      • sickofthechit

        All resources on this planet are limited. Unless your understanding is unable to grasp the reality of this lone planet sailing in space. Have you not seen photos of the earth from space? Do you think maybe there are wormholes of some sort inside that are growing resources magically.

        • notafeminista

          Mr. Ehrlich was and continues to be wrong, as is Mr. Gore and a good number of the scientists in the IPCC panel. You can read it…you certainly needn’t take my word for it.
          Just admit you don’t KNOW.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            The earth is finite, so anything here on earth is also finite. Duh.

          • notafeminista

            Ok..prove it.

          • Ray in VT

            That is just plain stupid.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Can you prove that the earth is infinite?

            I didn’t think so.

          • notafeminista

            I don’t claim it is infinite. You cannot say the same. Substantiate your assertion.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            The earth is finite. See the Earthrise photo.

            Case closed.

          • notafeminista

            Humans may be infinite..the dinosaurs and any number of other species of flora and fauna certainly have proven to be. The Earth remains. Case closed.

    • northeaster17

      Money is the key. If those resources are not extracted they are worthless. Hence the planetary carnage. Our current corporate nation states will not survive without petro carbons. They are whats important.

  • Margie

    Please note that Captain Willcox has two L’s in his name.Peter is my uncle, and our family is quite concerned about this situation.

  • StilllHere

    Why was the Greenpeace ship transporting hard drugs?

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Why do you believe Putin?

      • Ray in VT

        Some elements of the American right have certainly fawned over him regarding Syria (for which he should get some credit, despite Russia’s stonewalling for the previous 2 years), and there’s been some defense or praise of Russia’s anti-gay measures.

        • notafeminista

          I thought the right were blood thirsty warmongers. President Putin managed to avoid that. …

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Really? Ask the Chechens. And the Georgians.

          • notafeminista

            Did or did not President Putin successfully and masterfully prevent military intervention by the US? And what role would you have an external state play in a civil war?
            It’s their business right? Their problem to solve, no?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            President Obama deserves all of the credit. Putin sold Assad the chemical weapons, and you are foolish to try and defend Putin on any front.

          • notafeminista

            Maybe you should read the question(s) again.
            (edit added) Are you suggesting that President Obama didn’t want a military strike? The whole thing was show for the global theatre in order to have President Putin step in?

          • Ray in VT

            Except for how Russia has been blocking efforts to do something about the civil war for quite some time.

          • northeaster17

            Syria has been a Russian client state for decades. Ivan I’m sure is and has profited from the Assad tyranny.

          • notafeminista

            He may very well have, all of which begs the issue at hand.

    • northeaster17

      Can’t believe Putin and his cronies would stoop to plant such things in order to boost charges. Funny how the right in the U.S. is becoming more and more enthralled with KBG man Putin.

      • StilllHere

        Enthralled hardly, but you have to give him credit for his leadership in the peace effort in Syria. Many lives saved.

  • BlueNH

    Courage. Something most people lack these days. I support the Greenpeace protesters and hope that political pressure will force the Russian bullies to release these brave people.

    Now that the Arctic is melting, countries (including the US) are actively searching for ways to exploit the natural resources, (oil, gas) there. And spending BILLIONS of $$$$. The results will be catastrophic for every living being on Eaarth.

    Isn’t it time to start investing these billions into clean, green energy? By continuing to invest in fossil fuels, we are telling future generations: WE DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU.

  • andrewgarrett

    Greenpeace lost all credibility as an environmental protection organization with their anti-science opposition to GM crops. Humanity currently uses 40 percent of the earth’s surface for food production. Food demand is expected to double in about 35 years. Does Greenpeace want 80 percent of the earth’s surface used for food production? While GM crops won’t solve all of our problems, they are certainly an important tool. We believe scientists when they talk about human caused climate change. Why don’t we believe scientists when the insist that GM crops are safe. Greenpeace peddles fake science about GM crops, just as some on the Right peddle fake science about climate change and evolution.

    • nj_v2

      Genetic engineering represents an uncertain and possibly dangerous experiment on a world scale, for dubious benefits.

      The health and ecological—never mind evolutionary—consequences of mixing genes between species in ways never before possible, are not fully know, and perhaps cannot be anticipated.

      Despite the bogus claims made in the above post, there is already significant, scientifically valid evidence of health and ecological issues with genetically engineered foods.

      • notafeminista

        The population of India isn’t “dubious”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug
        even conceding that Wikipedia is what it is.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          There is no scientific evidence that GMO’s won’t harm us. Besides, GMO’s are illegal patents. You cannot patent life.

          • notafeminista

            Tell it to India.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Is India the model of food safety you want to follow?

          • notafeminista

            Is starvation an acceptable means of population control for you?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Oh yeah, creating superweeds and climate change will solve starvation … only in a self-delusional world.

          • notafeminista

            When HASN’T the climate been changing? The micro-climate(s) in my backyard are changing as we speak.

            Again, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            The Arctic ice is melting because we humans have been burning fossil fuels.

            Past changes in the climate were caused by different things than the current changes. What’s your point?

          • notafeminista
          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            The Daily Mail cited as a scientific source? Ha!

            You just lost all your credibility…

          • notafeminista

            Didn’t read it did you.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Nah, the Daily Mail is not credible, even for gossip; let alone science.

          • jefe68

            Ah yes, lets drum up some false equivalencies. What the heck, lets call it false equivalency Friday.

    • BlueNH

      Hey Andy,

      If the GMO companies would only LABEL their poisonous products, it would be OK with me. Nobody would buy them!!!!!

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    More strange bedfellows – Republicans and Putin on the same side of oil and gay rights, too.

    Hmmm…

  • Wahoo_wa

    If one breaks the law one should face the consequences. Pretty simple concept.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Tell that to BP and Exxon and Enbridge and Shell. The Russians have grabbed territory, and are in a dispute with Canada.

      • Wahoo_wa

        Completely different issue.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          You said it is about following the law. Same thing applies to these radical companies.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Agreed but this specific case is not about grabbing territory.

    • nj_v2

      I think you meant “simpleminded.”

    • BlueNH

      Did it bother you that the criminals who ruined our economy went scott-free? Did you lose sleep?

      Did it bother you that BP execs never went to jail? I doubt it!

      • Wahoo_wa

        Completely irrelevant questions.

    • northeaster17

      Tell that to Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, King, Mandella etc. Those that upheld the unjust law are in history’s dust bin. The fight still goes on with Tories and the ghosts of Bull Connor and the like standing by the letter of the law.

      • notafeminista

        Like those insisting the PPACA is the law of the land?
        Two can play this game.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    The fact that they are even trying to drill for oil in the Arctic (as Shell was, too) proves that climate change is all too real.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Uh no. It simply proves that there is cost effective oil there.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        It also proves we are past peak oil.

        The Arctic ice is in a death spiral, and the main reason it is melting is that we humans are burning fossil fuels.

        Restating your magical thinking won’t change this fact.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          “Restating your magical thinking won’t change this fact.”

          Hilarious since you are the one worshiping at the altar of climate extremism. I’ll stick to real science — thank you very much.

          Hey, did you see the ‘stadium wave’ paper (Wyatt/Curry -2013) recently published in Climate Dynamics. They found a ‘natural’ signal that has been in the data for at least 300 years that could explain the so called ‘pause’ and that it could also continue until at least 2030.

          More reason to celebrate, eh?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            How are you judging what science is “real” and which is fake?

            Are you in the habit of judging a broad swathe of fields; many of which require a PhD, and for which you are doubtlessly unqualified?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Neil, why not celebrate a peer reviewed paper by two PhD scientists that advances the science?

            It doesn’t take a PhD to recognize that climate science is an immature field and the science is certainly not ‘settled’. It also doesn’t take a PhD to recognize the propaganda of climate extremism promoted by the IPCC, the media and certain politicians. Have you considered their true motives? It has nothing to do with the environment. It is all about money and control.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Yeah, sure. Who are you, some anonymous person on the Internet? I’ll take your word for it, instead of the word of virtually every scientist I know off…

            And the climate deniers use the same FUD that the tobacco companies used, and even *are* some of the same people. Many of the climate deniers also deny evolution, and deny HIV causes AIDS. They deny the earth is older than a few thousand years.

            So, you are in some *great* company…

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Neil,, I offer you science that you should be celebrating and you respond with tired straw men from the propaganda machine. So sad.

            I don’t expect you to believe me but at least open your eyes to activist pseudo-science.

            Fortunately it looks like the money grab scam is dead. And it looks like reality is catching up to the activist pseudo-science.

            And if you believe the money-grab scam is benign you are deluding yourself. Denying cheap energy to the poor of the world is the same as denying them prosperity. It is a criminal act.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            What does Brian Cox say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does David Attenborough say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Neil DeGrasse Tyson say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Bill Nye say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Jane Goodall say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Michio Kaku say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What did Carl Sagan say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Richard Dawkins say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Vandana Shiva say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Steven Hawking say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Craig Venter say about anthropogenic climate change?

            Your “experts” are paid shills. They are recycling the same strategy used by the tobacco companies.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            What does Brian Cox say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does David Attenborough say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Neil DeGrasse Tyson say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Bill Nye say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Jane Goodall say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Michio Kaku say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What did Carl Sagan say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Richard Dawkins say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Vandana Shiva say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Steven Hawking say about anthropogenic climate change?

            What does Craig Venter say about anthropogenic climate change?

            Your “experts” are paid shills. They are recycling the same strategy used by the tobacco companies.

      • ExcellentNews

        Right for once. In fact, most petroleum geologists suspect that the amount of hydrocarbons in the Russian Western Arctic dwarfs what’s in Saudi Arabia or the Gulf. The only reason why we don’t know for sure is that it has never been really drilled. In the broader Yamal region, Gazprom has struck mega-fields with virtually every test well.

        Of course, the wisdom of burning all these hydrocarbons in a geological instant of time, just so that few Russian oligarchs can boogie on the Riviera… is rather questionable.

  • Wahoo_wa

    I don’t think it’s a matter of Russia “looking at all that oil.” I think it’s a matter of a vessel being boarded by unauthorized people and trying to occupy the vessel. Regardless of the issue of oil drilling or environmental concerns, the act of boarding and seizing a vessel is illegal. There is nothing more to this story.

    • BlueNH

      It is ONLY about oil. And power. And climate change. And the future of humanity.

      You are a very narrow thinker.

      • Wahoo_wa

        The law is not an open minded institution. Breaking the law is breaking the law. If one doesn’t like the law work to change the law.

        • BlueNH

          Whose law? Putin’s?

          Again, very narrow thinking. Please read up on the subject. There is NO TIME to work through the ‘system’. The climate change clock has passed midnight.

          • notafeminista

            Well except it hasn’t..

          • Wahoo_wa

            International law actually. Please read up on the subject and actually have something intelligent to contribute.

        • northeaster17

          Wrecking the planet we live on is breaking the law.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Which law are you referring to?

  • northeaster17

    From W.S. Merwin a fitting poem for these times

    For A Coming Extinction

    Gray whale
    Now that we are sinding you to The End
    That great god
    Tell him
    That we who follow you invented forgiveness
    And forgive nothing

    I write as though you could understand
    And I could say it
    One must always pretend something
    Among the dying
    When you have left the seas nodding on their stalks
    Empty of you
    Tell him that we were made
    On another day

    The bewilderment will diminish like an echo
    Winding along your inner mountains
    Unheard by us
    And find its way out
    Leaving behind it the future
    Dead
    And ours

    When you will not see again
    The whale calves trying the light
    Consider what you will find in the black garden
    And its court
    The sea cows the Great Auks the gorillas
    The irreplaceable hosts ranged countless
    And fore-ordaining as stars
    Our sacrifices
    Join your work to theirs
    Tell him
    That it is we who are important

  • northeaster17

    Here comes the sun la da da da

  • sickofthechit

    My big problem with all this drilling taking place at sea is that all of our oil companies have to file Emergency Spill Response Plans with the EPA. There are hundreds, if not thousands of drill rigs in the Gulf of Mexico with these plans filed.

    Now examine that logically. There are not thousands, or hundreds of cleanup companies operating worldwide so each company has at most one, maybe two dedicated companies to see to their needs. If you examine the different companies plans they are all listing the same companies over and over again. Those companies only have enough resources to respond to one spill. Certainly not several. We saw how effective BP’s response plan was. They sucked up all the spill response resources in the area and beyond for months and months. If there had been another spill the expected spill response resources would have been unavailable. Result disaster. A third spill, absolute disaster. Now multiply that disaster by an unknown factor because you are drilling at the top of the world where the work season is half a year maybe. Now what happens when the spill occurs in the last week of the season? Oh well, guess we will get to it later….
    charles a. bowsher

    • notafeminista

      Looks like a job opportunity for someone.

      • northeaster17

        Looks like those reaping billions from the extraction need to lay off the Govt subsidies and reinvest in remedial capabilities.

        • notafeminista

          You’re certainly right about govt subsidies. Discontinue them all.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        That is a shallow and ignorant response.

        Cleaning up spilled oil in Arctic is for all intents and purposes – impossible.

        If they drill for oil, it will spill. If we burn more oil, we will continue to exacerbate climate change more than we are already.

        Arctic oil drilling is a non-starter for anybody with any morals at all.

        • notafeminista

          It is shallow and ignorant only if one eschews forward thinking and creating jobs.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Yeah, you keep thinkin’ that…

            Oil spills and climate change are incredibly destructive of the only planet we have to live on.

            There is no Planet B.

  • fun bobby

    yeah I am sure dirty hippies would never have any drugs. piracy charges are rough but at least putin did not leap off the back of a trained dolphin and kick them all in the necks

  • andic_epipedon

    More evidence that Mother Russia is cursed.

  • ExcellentNews

    Considering that not too long ago, 20 million Russians were killed for the crime of not appearing loyal enough, I would say that Russia has made a lot of progress in human rights… :~

    In fact, if you look at Russia today, you will see the model country for a total free-market, small-government oligarchy. About 1000 people truly OWN EVERYTHIG of value in the country. The only job of the government is to make sure nobody gets in the way of these “gilded 1000″. There are no taxes or job-killing regulations :) The rest of the populace is little better than chattel.

    No wonder that George W. Bush looked in Putin’s eyes and saw a kindred soul. He was really not kidding – the endgame for our own oligarchy is to make us like Russia today. Hence, their sponsorship of anti-government nuts like the Tea Party, and of the Republican Party in general. And the methods of political control in Russia are almost the same as those employed by our own far right. In fact, why nobody mentioned that the same global PR firm that engineered Bush “Mission Accomplished” is behind Putin’s stunts???

  • d clark

    Good! The Russians don’t screw around. This is a LEGAL operation. If you don’t like it you DON’T get to be an ANARCHIST!

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