Tonight my mate goes to sleep in a Russian jail

Right now, a friend of mine is languishing in a small cell in a district court in Murmansk along with a dozen others, pending the results of a two-month long investigation into alleged piracy during a peaceful Greenpeace protest.

On Sunday, the world was shocked with news that Russia had used armed Coastguard to board and detain the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise, which was protesting incredibly risky deepsea drilling in the fragile Arctic.

Since then, the situation has escalated alarmingly. The ship has been seized, and thirteen peaceful protestors from all over the world have this morning been detained for two months.

I sailed with one of the New Zealanders, David Haussman, on the Rainbow Warrior before I entered Parliament. I’ve been lucky to call Haussey a mate for years, and to have fought alongside him to give our earth a voice. I have enormous respect for his grit, resolve, and optimism in this awful situation.

The Greenpeace activists’ ongoing detention is unwarranted. As Bunny McDiarmid said today, it’s basic intimidation – continued detention without charge breaches international law, and allegations of piracy are laughably false. In fact, the Dutch government has effectively asked Russia to ‘please explain’ and state which law Greenpeace have broken, or they will consider taking legal action against the Russian government.

These activists are amazing, inspiring people, doing incredibly important and difficult work, with little to no recognition. The Arctic is possibly the most important battleground in the climate fight, and it’s imperative that dangerous drilling like that which Gazprom would undertake doesn’t go ahead. These activists knew that their actions in Putin’s Russia were risky, but still put themselves on the line for all of us. To be held with such brutal and ongoing disrespect for basic human rights – such as access to legal counsel – is beyond reproach though, even for Putin. Russian authorities are actively neglecting their obligations under international law.

Right now, John Key and Foreign Minister Murray McCully is in New York lobbying for NZ to become a member of the United Nations Security Council. If we as a country have any respect for the integrity of international law, then Key must call on Russia to afford these brave activists their basic rights. To fail to do so is internationally irresponsible.

To Haussey, and the dozen other activists unjustly behind bars: kia kaha. We’re with you all the way.

 

Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise, detained by armed Russian Coastguard

 

 

74 thoughts on “Tonight my mate goes to sleep in a Russian jail

  1. This is what happens when greenpeace tries to break the law and the targot of the terrorism does not play by the law either.

    http://sailinganarchy.com/

    Russians defend their yacht from greenpeace terrorists by producing a knife to fend off pirates in rubber duckies.

    Never bring a rubber ducky to a knife fight.

  2. Philip,

    “So what was the Greenpeace protest if it wasn’t peaceful?”

    Boarding a rig/ship without permission is the issue.

    It seems to me some of these activists are in danger of believing their own rhetoric. Just because they call it a protest does not mean they can therefore board a ship/rig when they feel like it. Self-defining that act as a “protest” does not excuse the act of boarding.

    Else what would stop anyone calling any act of law-breaking a “protest” and seek immunity on that basis?

  3. philip,

    Oh dear, lets explain it in simple language. Russia has been targeted by Chechen islamic fundamentalist terrorist for quite a while. Remember school and cinema attacks?

    So any approach to a Russian installation by any ship (especially one that is not showing peaceful intent) is to be treated as a potential terrorist weapon of attack.

    No matter that the ship may be gaily painted green and rainbow decorated, it is a potential terrorist treat.

    That is why the strong arm and decisive response to the greenpeace ship.

    Yes, I would say greenpeace was extremely foolish to pull this publicity stunt. Be interesting how much this will impact on the corporate earning as donations to the cause start drying up through corporate neglectful decision making.

    For in future just because a ship is decorated as a greenpeace one will not protect it from being considered a terrorist or pirate operated ship.

    That is the legacy greenpeace have now sown with their unpeaceful and unlawful actions.

    Massive big fail by greenpeace.

  4. So what was the Greenpeace protest if it wasn’t peaceful? The Russian response was complete overkill – not untypical of their security forces,of course. They aren’t known for subtlety. And their legal system??….you’d have to be either brave or foolish(or simply unlucky) to come anywhere near it.

  5. No doubt you would have similar comments following protests by the KKK?NF? Radical Islam? Not all causes are just just because people protest.

    Peaceful protest is something I can support, no matter what the cause.

    Greenpeace I will gladly leave to the Russian legal system.

  6. No doubt Anale would have had similar comments following all the protests down the years (against slavery, racial discrimination, women’s suffrage, nuclear testing, etc.) which have led to protestors being hurt, killed or imprisoned. Authorities will always over-react in their efforts to maintain the status quo (and their own way of seeing things) – and they will always have their supporters like Anale.

  7. PS: The Lawless protest may come back to bite hard.

    It shows form. When asked to come down from their protest, they refused. This had the effect of disrupting the ships activities and costing money. I’d be surprised if Russia didn’t point to that protest to demonstrate likely intent.

  8. Back on topic…

    Looks like Russia has now charged various activists, which is good. This removes uncertainty.

    One of the risks of turning “peaceful” protest into “not really peaceful” protest is that you may end up doing years inside.

    They can whine about it, but I can’t see them getting much sympathy from the general public. If you poke a bear with a stick, then you might get away with it, or it might be rather painful for you, but no one will be particularly surprised at the outcome, unless they’re stupid.

  9. Any idea if there was a significant difference between direct ratepayers (like property owners) compared with indirect ratepayers (like tenants)?

    Mostly owner occupied, only a small percentage rented accomodation.

  10. You could argue that we’ve not acted too wisely in new Zealand, either. Back in 2011, I opined:

    We had an election, and we elected a bunch of people who we knew are going to fuck the country over. (But hey, we got a couple of bucks in our wallets, yes?) Chances are, in just a few months, we’ll re-elect them and then (with our permission and blessing) they’ll fuck us over harder and deeper than any government ever in New Zealand’s history.

    Democracy is like that.

    The annoying thing is that the ever smiling Mr Key wasn’t voted in, the incumbent Labour party were voted out. This is all the fault of that government. What government pisses off the country enough that the public willingly vote in the most destructive government ever, and then vote them in again??!!??!

  11. @dbuckley: “I voted for the middle option, but by far the majority voted for the lowest possible rates.”

    Any idea if there was a significant difference between direct ratepayers (like property owners) compared with indirect ratepayers (like tenants)?

  12. Kerry, I’m not deeply familiar with the Swiss system or know the Swiss culture well at all. How does it work out with the detailed stuff?

    I might trust the bulk of the population to make good decisions about ethical issues. But, for example, with the way I’ve seen some of my friends living their lives off credit card debt (and come to believe that much of the population shares similar sentiments considering how good the loan-shark business appears to be and what I’ve read about how many people buy cars on finance), I wouldn’t trust people to make as-good decisions about the country’s financial management issues. There are equally things that I wouldn’t feel comfortable making decisions about if it were asked or demanded of me by a referendum.

    It’s not a perfect system, but I prefer to elect officials to take a degree of responsibility for decisions because I don’t want to have to spend my life trawling through hundreds of thousands of pages of advice and expert opinions about everything that matters. To an extent, at least, I’d rather focus on what I’m good at.

  13. The Americans are getting exactly what they voted for. No surprise there. Vote in a Republican house and a Democrat President, what did they think would happen?

  14. Its not peoples common sense under question, which, in general, is lacking, no doubt about that, but that is a different problem; no, people have self interest, and will generally put it above the community interest.

    A goodly number of years back my then local council (in the UK) asked the ratepayers how much they would like to pay in rates, and laid out the options along with the benefits of paying more in the rates. I voted for the middle option, but by far the majority voted for the lowest possible rates.

    Of course, the ratepayers wanted “more”, and if the noise in the papers was to be believed, it was a widespread want, but when it came to choosing to stump up or not; people voted with their self interest and wallets. That is the same issue that was mentioned in the report that you cited. The Americans have a lovely term for it: Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.

    I have a lot of evidence that the decisions made by the majority are, on the whole, much superior to those of politicians.

    That may be entirely true. I think it probably is, for, as you say, the majority of decisions, by any reasonable judgment. But it is coloured by who is making the definition of “superior”.

    The other problem is that peoples views are time sensitive; if we had a mass shooting you might suddenly find the death penalty back on the books.

    I am willing to be very wrong in all of this; it is just my opinion, and it may be that the people are far more altruistic that I think they are. But I don’t see any great evidence of it…

  15. Don’t have a lot of confidence in ordinary peoples common sense, do you?

    I have a lot of evidence that the decisions made by the majority are, on the whole, much superior to those of politicians.

    For example. I’ve seen research, unpublished unfortunately, (The institution concerned didn’t think it would help further funding research applications) that asked a large number of people what policies they preferred, without saying which political party or political viewpoint they came from. The overwhelming majority favoured policies that were fair to minorities, social justice, the environment and progressive taxes for social and Government services.

    It also appears to be the case in many surveys even in that home of low tax “dog eat dog” capitalism, the USA. http://www.cnbc.com/id/100426765 is just one of many.

    Green policies, in other words.

    Which is why our greedy thieves in power are so threatened by democracy.

    We may give ordinary people pay/welfare rises, instead of continuing parasites 17% increases in unearned wealth.

  16. I’m not saying it won’t work, I think it would work. I’m saying I don’t think you will like the outcome. What I think you’ll discover is that our representative democracy, although far from perfect, pays some attention to minorities. With direct democracy that will go straight out the door. The mob will be a somewhat less left-leaning then perhaps you might hope for.

    For example, you suggested above that wealthy bludgers will be gone by lunchtime. You chose to reuse my (stolen, stereotypical) right wing term and repurpose it to the left. The people out there (a) aspire upwards not downwards, and (b) understand that a significant proportion of the tax bill supports those on welfare. I think the mob will get that if they pay less on welfare, the can pay less tax, and thus have more flat screen tellys. It takes maturity to understand that if you cut welfare you up crime, and thus increase justice related costs. That maturity, as you accept, will take time. Not years, generations. And even if they do get it, they will believe that better times are just around the corner, and we can deal with the justice costs “later”.

    So in a couple of hundred years, that maturity may be there. But we won’t see it. In our lifetimes, we would just experience the downsides.

    It may be an altogether lesser challenge to make representational democracy work better. Or not. The problem is basic, there are people who think the left wing approach is the best, and others that believe in the right wing way. Perhaps there is no decent average possible. I believe there is, but it will take a lot of compromise, from both the Left and the Right.

  17. As for minorities, all the indications, and polls in later times, are, that Parliament was way behind public opinion on minority rights. It was parliament that prevented earlier adoption of gay rights in New Zealand, for example. More than 50% of the public were already in favour.

    That we may not agree with some of the decisions made is not an argument against democracy.

    “Representative democracy” is presently showing many examples of shocking groupthink, dogma and lack of coherent thought. When they are not engaged in outright theft on behalf of their corporate sponsers.

  18. Given the respective track records of “representative democracy” and the few examples of direct democracy, I think it is you, Dbuckley, that have the rose tinted glasses.

    Those who have done management studies will recognise the value of as much input as possible into decision making, especially from those who are most affected and have to carry them out. Autocratic Government is no more successful than autocratic management.

  19. Kerry, it would be lovely if all that happened. However, I suspect that your spectacles are excessively rose tinted, and it would be simply awful, particularly if you are a mnority of any sort.

  20. And the decades of destruction of community and sellout of NZ to the wealthy offshore by our “representative democracy” sic, is not ugly?

    And yes, I would expect a lengthy settling down period.

    Wealthy bludgers would be “gone by lunchtime”.

    The opposition to restoring a part of Maori losses is not as strong as it may seem. It is mostly from a vocal minority. But, Whose to say that treaty settlements are the answer anyway. They seem to go disproportionately to the Maori moneyocracy. General poverty reduction measures, such as liveable welfare, education measures, or a UBI, would benefit the majority of Maori much more.

    Our dictators have already removed the ETS, but public discussion and vote could well result in a better option.
    National would remove all welfare, except for their corporate mates, “by lunchtime” if they could. Instead they are just doing it by stealth.

    I strongly suspect the degree of community engagement and soundness, the Swiss have, is because they actually do Govern themselves.

    Democracy gives us the ability to embark on long term multi year solutions, instead of having the next lot of dictators reverse them.

  21. As the thread lengthens the posts blur together. I could have been more polite too. Sorry to be so short about it.

    :-)

  22. I don’t wake up every day with an intent to break the law, and I usually don’t, but as far as I’m concerned it’s sometimes a blurry line which depends on circumstance.

    I bet Willie Sutton wished that was attributed to him, rather than the more usual misquoting…

  23. “Mob rule” has given Switzerland a hundred years of peace, prosperity and stability despite being inhabited by several different cultures.

    Cant argue with that; its worked for them. I worked for a Swiss bank for half a dozen years a while back, and can confirm that the Swiss are “different”. Many of my colleagues spent time in Switzerland, and its not all sweetness and light. But the Swiss certainly have their act together, and not just in the field of making watches.

    So how well would direct democracy work in New Zealand? We are a “me” society, and we have a distinct racial split. So I reckon that the Treaty would be gone by lunchtime, and the ETS by afternoon tea. We sure would have a different New Zealand. And I hate to think what would happen to bludgers.

    Of course, you could game the system to try and prevent these things, but then its not direct democracy any more, is it; for direct democracy to be valid, you have to honour the will of the majority of the people, and as I noted, that might be ugly.

  24. bjchip @ 6.08pm

    Yes, sorry.
    I looked at several comments, thought one was by you, and entered the remark.
    I wasn’t really meaning to talk about you but I posted it without correcting it.
    Put it down to premature index finger.

  25. “Mob rule” has given Switzerland a hundred years of peace, prosperity and stability despite being inhabited by several different cultures.

    And our rotating Dictatorship has done so well?
    As soon as we gain some social and community advances, a right wing bunch of thieves comes along, and destroys it!

    Trusting 61 politicians, over 4 million of your fellow citizens, shows not only an arrogant contempt for ordinary people, but also a lack of reading of history.

    If Democracy, rule by the people, is that bad, why allow voting at all!

  26. I am sure that the Green peace activists knew full well that they would be stopped before they could get near a rig, and definitely before they could do anything dangerous to the rig..

    In other words there was absolutely no chance they could harm anyone, in any case.

  27. Alwyn

    You elected to single me and Kerry out, but then didn’t seem to have anything to say to me.

    Perhaps you realized then that I spoke of the reactions of Russians, not of the reactions of drill rig operators and your mistake was to address me at all. I have no confusion here.

    What did *I* say that you took exception to? Your empty challenge hangs without form, consuming your credibility.

  28. I was on on Maui B/Sedco 702 for two years while they were drilling. One of my jobs when I was on watch was helicopter and boat traffic control. Giving the permissions! I was also on an AHTS for the second round of drilling.

    And Yes don’t worry, I am not contradicting you, if anyone approached a rig, while anything dangerous was occurring, like a gas leak or a well perforation, without permission, they are likely to get a six inch water cannon, from the standby boat, between the eyes, no matter who they are.

    A manager who stepped on the deck of a tanker I was on with a lit cigarette went swimming so fast he did not even know what hit him.

    A am sure a rig crew can handle any safety issues arising with Greenpeace.

    And as someone said above, it would be a good idea, in some parts of the world, to make sure that those who attempted landing on the rig were not pirates or terrorists masquerading as greenies.

  29. “The Law – and thus what is legitimate (note absence of quotation marks) – isn’t absolute, and can – and is – be changed by the will of man. And there is a process to do that.”

    The process, in both cases you cite was to overthrow the law. In the case of Naziism, by brute force, in the case of apartheid, largely by the threat of it. The Nuremburg trials asserted that those in the service of the Nazi government were wrong to obey the then existing law, and should have broken it. Mandela was ‘un-criminalled’ by his supporters willingness to flout the law. In neither case was there some ‘legitimate’ process at work.

  30. “For if as Gareth Hughes is suggesting that one can break the law to then he must except it is OK to do so by everyone else too.”

    I don’t wake up every day with an intent to break the law, and I usually don’t, but as far as I’m concerned it’s sometimes a blurry line which depends on circumstance.

    When one’s own government starts to create laws using mechanisms that bypass regular process such as enabling genuine public analysis and debate, and when clear notifications of conflict with guiding legal principles (like the Bill of Rights Act), the ethical justification for those laws becomes far more subjective.

    What good are laws in a democratic society if they ignore the defined principles of a free and fair society upon which they’re meant to be built?

  31. Kerry Thomas @ 3.33pm
    Now you are displaying your ignorance.
    Yes there are helicopters landing on a rig.
    However, and this is very important, they can only do so if they have the tool-pusher’s permission.
    My brother worked for SBPTOS in Taranaki in the 1970’s. There was a case where there was a helicopter flying out to the platform while they were drilling and the pilot heard a radio report that someone on the platform had been injured and he landed to pick the person up to take him to hospital.
    There was apparently a complaint to the company that supplied the helicopters and that pilot was NEVER allowed to fly for SBPTOS again. The reason? He had approached the rig and landed without having the explicit permission of the tool-pusher. That was absolutely forbidden. If he had been a direct company employee he would have been immediately dismissed.
    My brother also said that he was taken on a visit to an onshore rig by the person who was the tool-pushers boss. That person stood in view of the rig and apparently waited for five minutes before he was waved permission to go onto the rig.
    You say that choppers land all the time. Yes they do but only when it is KNOWN to be safe.
    Not like the demonstraters who are lucky to still be in one piece, doing such a thing to Russian rigs.

  32. Since we’ve invoked Godwin’s Law:

    You and DBuckley know, of course, that everything done by the Nazi’s after they assumed Government, was legal. That was the main defense attempted during the Nuremberg trials.

    This illustrates nicely a subtlety Sam brought up, when he said “…and other criminals such as Nelson Mandela…”

    The point of interest here is what is legitimate (which still means in compliance with the rules) changes over time; Mandela was definitely a criminal, and was convicted of a crime, and served hard time. And then was, in effect, un-criminalled. The Nazi behaved in accordance with the law, and it was then later determined to have been acting outside the law.

    The Law – and thus what is legitimate (note absence of quotation marks) – isn’t absolute, and can – and is – be changed by the will of man. And there is a process to do that.

    Now Kerry doesn’t think much of the entire system of representative democracy, but it is still the form of government that sucks least. Direct democracy may be good, may be evil. The mob can be an ugly thing.

  33. Gerrit – If you decide wrongly, you have made a mistake.

    You are not excused from deciding, and acting rightly. What is actually right and wrong is not altered by your decision.

    At one level this is tautological, at another it is cultural.

    Everyone decides. Some trivially, some with actual thought processes. That’s incontestable, the tautology. Nobody else can decide what you will regard as right and wrong, or how you will respect a law.

    The cultural background is more important perhaps. The law is not infallible, it is made by some men and interpreted by others who argue incessantly over the details because there is money to be made in the arguing. Law is broadly about social justice, and right and wrong, at least that is how we expect things to work, but it is not either of those things, it is merely law.

    Culturally, a lot of socialization has gone into nailing down the “respect the law” meme in England and here. I happen to hail from a different background that is a lot less bashful about challenging authority, and a whole lot more aware of the ways in which the law can fail. I grew up with laws that sent a lot of my peers off to Viet-Nam for NO good reason, and I experienced a lot of the ways that “law” can fail to have anything to do with social justice. So I know darned well that I can’t trust “the law” to make moral choices for me. It isn’t smart, it is just a law. It contains guidance as to what boundaries exist, beyond which the society may punish me for my “wrong” decisions. It is advisory in that I know that this is what the society thinks is right or wrong and that may weigh in my own decision. It remains MY decision.

  34. Protesters like those, landing on a rig are not going to endanger it.

    Most rigs have helicopters landing on them all day. you know, with gas turbine engines.

    As for a bunch of geeky greenies terrorising a drill crew. Don’t make me laugh.

  35. There appears to be more than a little confusion in the views of bjchip and Kerry in this blog.
    Kerry in particular says that “The protesters are not harming or endangering anyone, but themselves” and also “Protest that harms or endangers others is wrong”.
    How can possibly hold both these views if, as you claim, this exploration is incredibly dangerous and (not in your words here) likely to have a blowout at any time.
    There was no permission given for the protesters to land on the drill ship. It could have been enveloped in explosive gas which could erupt at any spark. It wasn’t, of course, but how could they protesters have KNOWN that? By invading the rig they could have been endangering all the crew of the vessel. I think the Russian Coastguard were acting entirely correctly in stopping the activities of the protesters. I trust the New Zealand Government would do exactly the same if Greenpeace made any attempt at all to board the Maui platforms.
    The oil companies obviously take safety a great deal more seriously than do the protesters from Greenpeace. Nobody at all will attempt to go onto a drilling rig, on either land or sea, without the explicit permission of the tool-pusher in charge.

  36. Yes. Which is why I am surprised about your responses to my comments above.

    You already know I support genuine democracy, not anarchy.

    And I am not impressed with those on the left, or Greens, who think they should just take their turn in Dictatorship.

    While we are talking about legal or illegal, and about to get flamed by the anti Godwins again. You and DBuckley know, of course, that everything done by the Nazi’s after they assumed Government, was legal.

    That was the main defense attempted during the Nuremberg trials.

    I am feeling very upset and disgusted by our fascist Government at the moment. Another teenager we know has committed suicide after a couple of years of being shunted between WINZ, the mental health system, bullshit training providers, and the sort of employers you or I, or anyone who had a choice, would never work for. Paula Bennett’s brave new world. They have “saved” “3 billion” though. Right!

  37. Kerry,

    If you have been reading and comprehending previous comments of mine on referendum, you would not need to ask the question off me regarding binding citizen initiated referendum.

    Absolutely in favour as per the Swiss model.

    However I don’t think the Greens are in favour, nor Labour, so we will not see this democratic process becoming legal in New Zealand anytime soon.

  38. “The problem faced by the environmental terrorists is that folks generally think they are a harmless enough bunch,”

    Who are these ‘environmental terrorists’? Who has ever proposed terrorising people to force environmental gains?

  39. “We all know what legitimate means. The dictionary even helps us by providing a definition: Conforming to the law or to rules.”

    I said “the definition of what is legitimate” not “the definition of legitimate”. Please read what I say before you comment.

  40. “Hilter also broke the law as an illegal protestor.”

    Since you brought him up, Primo Levi mentions Italian Jews who voluntarily gave themselves up to the authorities, and were then shipped to Auschwitz, on the grounds that they wanted to be “in accordance with the law”.

    Presumably nobody here regards that as a reasonable course of action, so at what point do those supporting ‘legitimacy’ decide to declare the law to be invalid? And who gets to make that decision?

  41. “Because Society doesn’t, in general, support criminals.”

    ‘In general’ is not the issue, we aren’t talking about criminals ‘in general’.

    “Greens are rather keen on the democratic process ”

    Sometimes. The Greens have been at times fairly supportive of Gandhi, the people who blocked harbours to try and prevent nuclear ships entering, Martin Luthor King, Te Whiti and Tohu at Parihaka and quite a number of other famous criminals. So have much of the public.

    Luckily, the public have more sense than many commentators here who feel the actions of the above, and other criminals such as Nelson Mandela, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Bastion Point protestors, thousands of less well-known activists and others, including any gay male who had sex before 1986, are unacceptable.

  42. Gerrit.

    And yes. protest which harms or endangers others is wrong.

    Putting yourself in front of the line, like Niemollor, or up for arrest in Russia, on behalf of all of us, is heroic.

  43. Gerrit.
    The protesters are not harming or endangering anyone, but themselves.

    They are not Hitler, Stalin, or a a John Key/Paula Bennett.(Whose score of children dead of third world diseases, and beneficiaries committing suicide, is growing rapidly).

  44. “If it is morally wrong I am obliged to protest it and draw attention to its failings.”

    Exactly.

    I would happy to have my policy ideas put to the test of a majority vote after they have been fairly and adequately explained. And for opposing views to have the same rights.

    Our Government is not prepared to put even one of their major policies, which will affect us for decades after they have retired in Hawaii, up for a binding referendum.

    Are you? Gerrit.

  45. BJ,

    You demostrate that it is OK for anyone to be judge and jury on legality.

    If it is morally wrong I am obliged to break it rather than act immorally.

    Your morals are superior to and above the law?

    Cool, lets have anarchy.

    For I dont think that (thinking of something really outrages to use as an example) the drink drive law is morally correct. So I will break it.

    Is that type of attitude you want sociaty to live by?

  46. Kerry,

    Hilter also broke the law as an illegal protestor. Add him to your list along with Stalin.

    So if breaking the law as a means to obtain what you seem to be a justified outcome, you wont mind someone else breaks the law to overturn your justified outcome?

    Cool, let anarchy reign.

    Is that what the Greens stand for? Revolution.

    Bring it on.

  47. I take it, Gerrit and Dbuckley, you do not approve of the Tolpuddle martyrs, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Emmeline Pankhurst and Martin Niemöller, to name just a few “illegal” protesters.

    Or realise that the “protest” in Wellington which resulted in the 8 hour day, would be illegal today.

    Our Government is continually attacking and reducing Democracy, assisted by a compliant and propagandising press.

    Protest is the means, when all else fails, that we can bring injustice and wrong doing to the attention of the majority so they can be informed enough to decide if something is to be done about it.

    A Government which puts people in police vans, for protesting on public streets, (they would have been charged if they had really been law breaking, Instead they were harassed by police to put off protesters, in future) and makes forms of protest illegal because it embarrasses them, are showing they cannot retain power without forcing consent. That is called fascism! Can’t you see what is wrong with requiring a “permit to protest”?

    It is not me that is against democracy.

  48. If the law is morally wrong I am obliged to protest it through the parliamentary process.

    If it is morally wrong I am obliged to break it rather than act immorally.

    If it is morally wrong I am obliged to protest it and draw attention to its failings.

    Moreover, the PRESS is obliged to do the same. It fails this charge in a comprehensive way with respect to many subjects. It uses “fair and balanced” journalism to excuse finding a con for every pro, as though science was accomplished by public debate.

    When the press fails as signally as it has over the past few decades, and if the consequences of the bad law are serious enoug, I am obliged to break such laws as necessary to bring it into the light of public opinion, to be challenged and corrected… or to instigate revolt against the government imposing/permitting it.

    Is revolution ever justified Gerrit? I think it can be. The wilful murder of innocent people by terrorists is not, but revolution is definitely a method of changing government which we have to recognize.

    I do not “obey the law” because it is the law, I decide whether to do so based on my own perception of right and wrong. We all do that, and people who obey “because it is the law” are simply doing it the easy way, shirking their moral obligation to actually consider right and wrong, but it is generally safe in the moral sense, in this society at the present time, to do this.

  49. “You saying the democratic process is no longer relevant to the Greens? I hope they are are as protective off democracy from crony anarchists as they are off crony capitalist”.

    I don’t know who you are arguing with, but it was not what I said.

    I have this funny idea that Democracy is rule by the majority. Not our sham version where we only get to change the names of the dictators every three years. “Representative democracy” is an oxymoron.

    The only legitimate Government is where the majority have the say. Not 61 arrogant and promoted beyond their competence level, idealogs in Parliament.

    Which means that any Government which enacts policy, such as asset sales, against the clearly expressed wishes of the majority is no longer legitimate.

  50. The hockey stick graph turned out to be fine once the dust settled Gerrit. There are liars, and they are all employed by the fossil fuel and extraction industries, and Al Gore didn’t make any significant errors in his presentation of what is happening.

    YOU just showed here the effect of the lies. Which means the people telling the lies, the CEI and Heartland and other astroturf organizations brought to life like zombies from the dead corpse of the big Tobacco anti-science campaign, won. Propaganda won. Democracy lost.

    Truth has come from the science side throughout Gerrit. You have been lied to and there are still a lot of liars out there, just not the 97% (thousands) of climate scientists from every nation on the planet (that can afford to do science)… but from monetarily and ideologically motivated institutions.

    Promoting the continuation of BAU is not different from betting the future the human species on double-zero at the craps table.

  51. BJ,

    one has to question whether they’d even BE a majority if they were properly and completely informed about the risks and consequences.

    If the people were truthfully informed, Yes.

    But both sides of any argument can be as biased as the other so how will the voter be “properly and completely” informed in an unbiased manner?

    I only need to point to the hockey stick graph or Al Gore to see misinformation peddled by one side of the climate change argument for example. I’m sure that you will find huge volumes of misinformation supplied by the climate change deniers side.

    So who to believe?

  52. BJ,

    Made the point earlier that greenpeace complete underestimated the Russian bear’s reaction to publicity seeking, law breaking protest. Naive to the nth degree.

    Gareth Hughes is so naive that he supports law breakers right to illegally protest but then want the law to support them afterwards.

    Russian authorities are actively neglecting their obligations under international law.

    So Russian authorities have obligations under international law. An obligation that the greenpeace protestors cutely ignored.

    oh, the hypocracy from one naive Gareth Hughes, who must surely now be the weakest link in the Greens parliamentary team.

    How can any future generation have a say in todays world? By being represented by a political party that takes a long term view of world developments.

    That political party will, by working within the law, persuade the majority of voters that the unborn interest of future generations is worth the voters tick at democratic elections.

    That is how you give future generations the voice.

    The protection of the rights of the minority and those incapable of defending themselves are an important limitation on the power of the majority in any working democracy.

    Absolutely. But does that make it right for protestors to break the law?

    Would it not be better to have an active political party representing them and do so within the law? For if as Gareth Hughes is suggesting that one can break the law to then he must except it is OK to do so by everyone else too.

    That is anarchy and last I looked he represented the Greens, not the Anarchist party.

    Unless the Greens are anarchist?

  53. The problem Gerrit, is that future generations have NO voice in parliament or in any democratic process anywhere. We are the majority now. They are the more numerous but voiceless victims.

    You are correct, but the majority is still able to be wrong, and one has to question whether they’d even BE a majority if they were properly and completely informed about the risks and consequences.

    No democracy is any better than the information being given to its people, and that information has been very very distorted by the lying minions of the oligarchy; the CEI’s and Heartland’s and Murdoch’s perverted presses. Collectively much of the western world is deluded by these liars.

    Your question is legit. The right of the majority to decide is a very strong right.

    Its right to kill its children (or anyone) remains a bit questionable for all that. The protection of the rights of the minority and those incapable of defending themselves are an important limitation on the power of the majority in any working democracy.

  54. Everything you all say about peaceful protest and disruptive protest and the environmental catastrophe that is in progress can be true.

    You still have to remember that not TOO many years ago in Russia, those protesters, their ship, and their cause would not have even gotten a report out. They’d have disappeared without a trace. People who have any experience of Russia and Russians are completely unsurprised by the arrest and detention, except to remark that it was not as strong a reaction as might have been.

    These are a people with a living memory of the excesses of Stalin and Beria, the siege of Leningrad, brutal invasion and Chechen terror bombings. I can agree with Monbiot and my views on climate and “leave the stuff in the ground” are well known, but sending a protest ship to a Russian “anything anywhere” is not apt to work the way it might with other cultures.

  55. Kerry,

    ;Finally. Government, which routinely acts against the best interests and wishes of the people, they claim to represent, no longer has any legitimacy.

    Your individual judgement call on what is “the best interest of the people” may not be what the majority voters, in a democracy, judge to be in the “best interest of the people”.

    Who is to be the judge of what is “the best interest of the people”

    You as an individual, or ALL the voters in a democratic election.

    As far as “legitimacy” is concerned it is exactly the same call. Your individual judgement versus ALL the other voters judgement.

    But hey, if you are happy to live in an individualistic and non democratic anarchy state, go ahead and vote for the anarchist party.

    Greens are rather keen on the democratic process

    we all agree that people should be equal before the law; we all agree that the courts and the government should be blind to the size of our wallets; we all agree that there should be an even playing field on which the contest of ideas takes place.

    https://www.greens.org.nz/speeches/protecting-our-democracy-crony-capitalism-speech-dr-russel-norman-green-party-agm-2013

    You saying the democratic process is no longer relevant to the Greens? I hope they are are as protective off democracy from crony anarchists as they are off crony capitalist.

  56. Finally. Government, which routinely acts against the best interests and wishes of the people, they claim to represent, no longer has any legitimacy.

    That contradicts the definition of “legitimate”, but lets play along for a moment and pretend that “legitimate” can be whatever Kerry decides it is.

    Government not legitimate? Lets have an armed uprising. Or perhaps an election. Governments do have performance reviews, every few years, and if they fail to perform, then they can (and are) outed.

    How hard can it be? If you are correct, and the government “routinely acts against the best interests and wishes of the people”, then surely throwing out such a government at an election should be trivial? Heck, when Helen threatened peoples showers with a flow limit, people understood that was indeed acting against their “best interests and wishes”, and her lot were bounced. Democracy does work.

  57. Protesting is a perfectly legal activity. Go ahead and protest as much as you like. I’ll defend your right to protest to infinity.

    But the moment you break the law, then you are no longer a protester, you are a criminal. And that is the point when you no longer have Society’s support. Because Society doesn’t, in general, support criminals. Even those criminals who think (and argue) that they are something else.

  58. Finally. Government, which routinely acts against the best interests and wishes of the people, they claim to represent, no longer has any legitimacy.

    The difference between our Governments lack of action on climate change, killing our children later, and Syria’s killing children now, is only a matter of timing.

    The criminals are those in Government who have gutted our solutions and refused to take any effective action.

  59. So. we should quietly allow this to happen, and not break any laws?

    http://www.zcommunications.org/climate-change-try-catastrophic-climate-breakdown-by-george-monbiot.html

    Just stand back and let our Governments blindly increase fossil energy use?

    Have a look at the latest IPCC report.

    Non violent Protesting is also, or should be, a legitimate activity. I have as much right to be on the high seas, or public streets, even if protesting, as any other person.

    Self defense is also legitimate. Are we expected to stand back and behave, to let people continue with activities that will kill our children.

    We used to be critical of police states who jailed protesters. Now our cops routinely haul off even totally legitimate protesters to the cells.
    Supported often by the same members of the population who cheered on the tractors on parliament steps. OK only if you agree with them, Eh?

    What happened?

  60. Well, this argument largely falls on the definition of what is ‘legitimate’.

    We all know what legitimate means. The dictionary even helps us by providing a definition: Conforming to the law or to rules.

    This process is the privileging of certain activities as ‘kegitimate’ over other activities declared ‘illegitimate’.

    This “process [of] the privileging of certain activities” is what we ordinary people call the rule of law. We quite like it. It defends us against people who would do bad things to us.

    Laws can be changed. It just requires the will of enough of the people.

    More freedom for business, less for political work. More rights for private profit-making and less for democratic overview.

    That is the will of the people. Make a compelling enough case to the people, and maybe they’ll vote differently.

    The problem faced by the environmental terrorists is that folks generally think they are a harmless enough bunch, until you explain what they are actually trying to acheive, and in particular, how that course of action will directly impact that person in their pocket. Then they have an awful lot less sympathy…

  61. Sam,

    The proper place to change laws is in parliament. Not the streets.

    However if anarchy is to be the rule of law than vote for them.

    You saying that breaking the law is permissible and “legitimacy” is not an issue?

    More rights for private profit-making and less for democratic overview.

    So when does the view of the few override the democratically elected parliament and the laws they are upholding?

  62. “What is being defended (not attacked) is the right of people to go about their legitimate business unmolested.”

    Well, this argument largely falls on the definition of what is ‘legitimate’. This process is the privileging of certain activities as ‘kegitimate’ over other activities declared ‘illegitimate’. More freedom for business, less for political work. More rights for private profit-making and less for democratic overview.

    Any form of public protest is to some extent disruptive. if one is suckered into accepting “the right of people to go about their legitimate business unmolested” as paramount, one is left to accept the suppression of pretty much all effective forms of lawful dissent. Which only leaves illegality.

  63. What greenpeace (and Gareth Hughes by extension) miscalculated is that Russia has been the target of Chenchen terrorists for over a long period of time.

    from Bloomberg

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-21/chechen-conflict-spawned-terrorism-with-separatist-jihad.html

    At the same time, some separatists turned to terrorism. An attack by militants on a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, another republic in the Northern Caucasus, in September 2004 left 350 people dead, half of them children.

    Chechen insurgents also carried out an attack on Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater in October 2002, a hostage-taking that resulted in 130 fatalities when Russian forces attempted a rescue operation.

    A suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, the busiest air hub in Russia, killed at least 37 people in January 2011. A year earlier, twin suicide subway bombings during the morning rush hour in the Moscow subway killed 40 people.

    Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov claimed responsibility for both the Domodedovo attack and the subway bombings. Russian authorities have linked Umarov to a foiled plot to attack the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, which they say they uncovered last year.

    So one can be understanding of the Russians being a bit antagonistic towards anyone assaulting Russian assets. Was the greenpeace ship in the hands of armed terrorists? Who knew for sure?

    Take decisive action first to secure Russian assets, then sort out culpability.

  64. These activists knew that their actions in Putin’s Russia were risky, but still put themselves on the line for all of us.

    They may speak for you, but they don’t speak or act for me.

    I dislike Greenpeaces aggressive tactics. They have form in terms of disruption. The issue appears to be the Russians haven’t yet charged them, so one hopes they are charged soon, and face the consequences of their actions under Russian law in timely fashion.

  65. The “right to protest” is not under attack at all. What is being defended (not attacked) is the right of people to go about their legitimate business unmolested.

    The “right to protest” does not include the right to disrupt.

    If you do trespass the right of the legitimate enterprise be prepared to be confronted by the law.

    And in Russia (unlike New Zealand) that law is armed and willing.

  66. More evidence that the ‘right to protest’ is under attack.. not just in Russian territories, but also under NZ juristiction too !

    The power of the ‘mighty dollar rules’

    kia-ora

  67. I can’t say I was “shocked”. “Expected”, rather than “shocked”.

    No matter how just you feel your cause, if you climb onto a Russian rig then you are going to face consequences. The way to avoid the consequences is to protest without climbing onto the rig.

    Actions. Consequences. In Russia, the consequences can be quite harsh, so one would be wise to carefully consider ones actions before taking them.

    What did they expect would happen?

Comments are closed.