Rodney Hide: Invasion is violence not peace

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We keep hearing that the Greenpeace activists arrested and charged with piracy by the Russian Government are peaceful protesters. Bollocks.

A peaceful protest is standing outside the Russian Embassy with a sign saying "no" to Arctic drilling.

There is nothing peaceful about climbing atop a drilling platform unwanted and unauthorised. It's a violent act of aggression. It doesn't matter that you have no intention to hurt anyone. The violence is the invasion of property.

A home invasion is not made peaceful because the attacker means no harm. The invasion itself is the violence.

I have worked on oil rigs in the North Sea. They are more than a home: they are an industrial plant and a construction site. And they are at sea. It's tense and dangerous work. Huge care is necessary to keep the rig and the people on board it safe.

The last thing rig workers need is loopies from Greenpeace climbing on board to unfurl a protest banner to wave for their own cameras. They do so without permission and without supervision. It's an aggressive and dangerous act.

It doesn't make the action any less dangerous or violent that the perpetrators see themselves on a mission speaking up for the planet. If anything, it makes it worse. The greatest danger and greatest violence is always from those believing their cause is just and right. We see it with Greenpeace using the ends to justify the means and their ignoring and trampling of other people's views and rights.

The Greenpeace propaganda machine is now full-time pumping out the piffle. My favourite is this: "Year after year, campaign after campaign, courageous activists all over the world choose time and again to put their personal liberty on the line to give voice to the voiceless, to even the playing field, to force governments to act where they have failed, and to speak truth to hugely powerful forces.

"They do this because the political system is disempowering; because they are tired of greed dictating our futures and industry controlling our governments; because time is running out and they feel they have a duty to act."

Greenpeace writes up the activists as a cross between Batman and Wonder Woman. And here's the logic: Politics doesn't work. We are powerless. Greed is dictating outcomes. Time is running out. We need to even the playing field. Give voice to the voiceless. We must act. That's the propaganda of demagoguery. Greenpeace says its activists act with the "courage of their conviction" and "take full responsibility for their actions". And that they "bend rules" and "push boundaries".

Well, they may have bent one too many rules and pushed one boundary too far. It's the Russian Government they have tangled with. It's not known for being a soft touch. But not to worry, the activists have the "courage of their conviction" and "take full responsibility for their actions".

That means accepting the consequences. That's looking like a long spell in prison. That's what it means when you put your "own personal liberty on the line".

Of course, Greenpeace could do peaceful protest against Arctic drilling by standing outside the Russian Embassy. But that wouldn't titillate the news. Such a protest would not be reported. Far better to be boarding a rig, with protest banners and embedded journalists. That's news.

And that's money. Greenpeace is a multinational organisation that rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars. It does so by endless protest and always upping the ante to secure headlines. The Russian Government taking the Greenpeace 30 captive and charging them is gold to Greenpeace. It will give them continuous news coverage, endless opportunities to protest, and flood their coffers with donations. It doesn't do anything to make the planet a better place. But then that's not its point.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- Herald on Sunday

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