Wednesday, September 25, 2013



File:Russian Border Guard vessel Vorovskiy in Seattle (cropped).jpg
Russian Border Guard Cutter , Official U.S> Coast Guard Photo

 According to an article by Reuters Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Greenpeace Activists violated international law but are not pirates. Analysts speculate that this signals they will stand trail on charges of piracy. we explained in our last article on this subject Russia's piracy statute defines piracy in such a way that the "assailing banditry conducted from a vessel" of international law is not a necessary element. The Russians also separate elements of violence in the offense. Absent killing or injuring anyone some one convicted of "piracy" in Russia faces a maximum of 15 years of imprisonment. We expressed doubt that they would face the ultimate sentence and now this statement from Mr. Putin signals that Russian prosecutors are sensitive to the appearance of hammering "civil protesters". Good for Russia but we want to reaffirm that we felt the Russian Coast Guard had a right, duty, and obligation to stop the unauthorized boarding by the Green Peacers and the charge they wrote up on arrest was not illogical and in fact in terms of strict black letter interpretation of the Russian statute was clearly legal.  We have no idea exactly how Russia will proceed with the Green Peace boarding party but criminal mischief or trespass charges are warranted regardless of motivation. We commend the professional and even handed handling of the situation by the Russian Coast Guard, we await the out come of the case with the Russian judiciary and presently expect the boarding party to draw rather minor but real consequences. Even if it has to be done as a civil case we urge the Russian authorities to proceed against the ship itself for eventual seizure and sale. The world seem full of people ready to engage in civil disobedience but sometimes these activities become a danger in themselves. These people like to cite 

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

 But they are notoriously unwilling to go to jail like Thoreau did in his tax protest. Sea Shepard's head is an international fugitive, Green Peace is protesting loudly the Russian Coast Guard's intervention, no one is willing to admit that some of these activities actually endanger the environment, and people, violate laws and as a result may actually distract from the point the protesters are trying to make. We don't approve of the action, but we are starting to understand the frustration of the French a few years ago  when they simply sent in naval frogmen and sank the Green Peace ship. Being willing to endure jail time to make your point was a mark of the methods of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. That willingness shamed people into actually considering their positions. By contrast Green Peace acts shocked that any one would arrest them for what is clearly an illegal act. Thus they demonstrate that they consider themselves a law in their own right that all the world must follow or suffer forceful consequences. Green peace knows what's best for you and who is your government to have a different opinion? And exactly how does Green Peace differ from old Joe Stalin? To our mind its a matter of degree. Green Peace doesn't run political prisons but it seems that's mostly because they lack the resources to assume that role. Green Peace hasn't killed anyone yet, but that is mostly the luck of the draw because they endanger human life as if it was worthless. Green Peace differs from Stalin only by a matter of degree in action, they share exactly the same attitude. When you have lost your sense of humor, and believe in your own infallibility, and have a disregard for the safety of others your eventual degeneration into real piracy is just around the corner, if they have not stepped in it now. We have our own reservations about arctic drilling but when it is authorized by a legitimate government it usually falls to a Coast Guard to keep it as safe as possible. If they have to spend their time scooping up crazies instead of boarding rigs and platforms for inspections eventually an accident is going to happen. We just can't understand how adding additional operational tempo problems to a Coast Guard adds any safety to offshore drilling any.where. If don't think they should be drilling at all out there your protest needs to be on the Capital steps

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