The Greenpeace 30 could be free tomorrow but ……

It has been one month since the Greenpeace pirates were apprehended by the Russians.

The high profile Greenpeace strategies to get them released have been less than competent. They seem to be particularly incompetent regarding the Law of the Sea. Rather than getting their pirates released, nearly all their actions have been counter productive and have led to a hardening of the Russian position, the denial of bail, the inclusion of drug running charges and now even the threat of terrorism charges. That Greenpeace believes it stands above Governments and can determine what constitutes acceptable or unacceptable behaviour does not endear them to either the Russian Government or Russian Courts.

  1. They have tried bluster and moral indignation.
  2. They have tried arguing that the ends justify the means.
  3. They have managed expressions of support for their cause by rock stars
  4. The Head Pirate has written an idiot  “letter to Putin” in the form of a Press Release
  5. They have persuaded the Dutch Government to institute legal proceedings against Russia
  6. They persuaded the Dutch Government to get their police to apprehend and beat-up a Russian diplomat
  7. They have persuaded some Nobel prize winners to plead for the dropping of piracy charges.
  8. They have tried to complain that the conditions of detention are “inhumane”
  9. They have orchestrated emotional appeals by the families of the pirates.
  10. They have made press releases out of emotional letters from the pirates in captivity.

But humility and any hint that they might be wrong is not within Greenpeace’s genes. My expectation is that Greenpeace will continue to follow arrogant, ineffective and incompetent – but all high profile – strategies. They will only irritate and harden the Russian position even further against the criminals. (See what all the high profile, but equally incompetent, international publicity achieved for Pussy Riot).

What Greenpeace has not done but which they could do and which would probably get their pirates released in about a day is

  1. Get off their moral high horse,
  2. Acknowledge that they broke the law
  3. Get Kumi Naidoo to swallow his pride and grovel
  4. Apologise
  5. Arrange for each one of the detained to apologise to the court, and
  6. offer to give up their passports and accept some form of “house arrest” in exchange for bail, and
  7. provide individual and unconditional assurances that they will not flee.
  8. Assure the Russian courts – individually and collectively – that they will refrain from illegal actions and will abide by the decision(s) of the courts
  9. Assure their own Governments – individually and collectively – that they will refrain from illegal actions and will abide by the decision(s) of the courts
  10. Get their Government Heads to pass on such assurances to Putin (and effectively stand guarantor for the assurances given)

But I do not expect that Greenpeace and its pirates will ever acknowledge their arrogance or moral turpitude.

I expect the Russians will keep them locked up for some time longer. They may well add charges of terrorism – especially if any foreign Government tries to pressure Russian diplomats. If Greenpeace only sits on its high horse and continues to bluster, the 30 may well be there till just before Christmas.

And winter has come early to Murmansk.

Related: The Pirates of Greenpeace

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