Is Greenpeace coming unhinged? Never ones to turn down time in the spotlight, 2013 saw the so-called environmentalist organization sink to new and dangerous depths in order to garner attention for itself and the "causes" it claims to support. From breaking into French nuclear plants, to destroying Philippine agricultural research centers, childish violence and criminality have clearly become Greenpeace's chosen modus operandi. And nowhere was this alarming trend more on display than in the high seas drama surrounding the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise.
This past summer, after entering Russian waters as part of Greenpeace's "Confronting Oil" campaign, the Arctic Sunrise did little more than harass law-abiding Russian citizens. Russian authorities took a measured response to these provocations by giving the Greenpeace vessel every opportunity to turn back from her disruptive course. The Russians tried everything from verbal warnings, to international diplomatic appeals, to a literal shot across the bow. Displaying great restraint, the Russians even went so far as to allow the Greenpeace vessel to depart Russian waters peacefully following an inspection, literally letting them off with a warning.
Greenpeace's response to Russian leniency was, sadly, all too predictable. Using a degree of double think that only leftists are capable of, Greenpeace took those warnings as both signs of weakness and fuel for the delusions of persecution that is so much a part of their diseased worldview, and thus they became increasingly aggressive. Finally, in September, Greenpeace went too far when a team of "direct action specialists" attempted to force their way onto a Gazprom drilling platform at sea. The time for leniency was past, the aggressive actions of the crew of the Arctic Sunrise were now placing themselves and all those around them (the local environment not least) in serious danger. It was time for the adults to step in and put a stop to the nonsense before someone got hurt. And that's exactly what happened when the Russian Coast Guard took the Arctic Sunrise's crew into custody.
Following their arrest a months-long legal and diplomatic drama unfolded, and continues to unfold as of this writing. Though prominently and predictably featuring that staple of the environmentalist movement, white boys with dreadlocks holding signs, Greenpeace's campaign calling for the release of the so-called “Arctic 30” took on decidedly disturbing overtones when the Dutch government not only filed a lawsuit against the Russians in international court but Dutch police when so far as to attack a Russian diplomat! This made it quite clear just how thoroughly Greenpeace has wormed its way directly into the heart of the nations of Western Europe.
For their part, the so-called “Arctic 30” immediately began whining like the childish brats they are about their "harsh" treatment in Russian jail. With a laundry list of complaints that (no joke) included exposure to second-hand smoke and the lack of sufficient vegan menu options, it seemingly never occurred to any of them that if they were unprepared to face the realities of the Russian justice system then perhaps they should not have committed crimes against the Russian people.
Finally, just before New Year’s, the Russian legislature adopted a sweeping amnesty law that effectively pardoned the “Arctic 30” for their crimes. While Greenpeace's propaganda machine would have you believe that the release represented the Russian government bowing to massive public outcry (who knew unemployed European twenty-somethings were so influential?), the truth is, as Greenpeace activist and “Arctic 30” member Frank Hewetson himself said during an interview on CNN, this was a broad measure adopted by the Russian government in anticipation and in the spirit of the upcoming Olympic Games. Nothing more, and nothing less. So while Greenpeace continues to display another childish characteristic: lying, Russia has shown yet another adult characteristic: mercy.
In 2013, Russian authorities showed the world that Greenpeace can be opposed successfully. If those in power show mature determination and respect for the authorities then public order can be upheld. Good people and law-abiding citizens don't have to live in fear of hooligans with a cause. But only time will tell if their experience in Russia will in any way dissuade Greenpeace from its increasingly criminal path. Russia showed the world how to act responsibly when it taught Greenpeace a lesson, but has Greenpeace actually learned anything? Have we?
Ben Wolinski is a freelance writer and a soulless shill for the corporate oppressors. He eats live kittens and must sleep in a coffin containing his (heavily polluted) native soil.