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Old 17-11-2014, 08:43   #31
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Re: Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

In the US at least, ships carrying hazardous cargo or weapons get USCG escorts. The 25 foot RIB's and 45 footers are armed with .30 cal machine guns. Anyone who ignores their commands to stay away from the vessel being escorted would probably be shot at just below the waterline.

Every country has the right to vigorously guard their security zones with whatever method they choose, including deadly force. Anyone who chooses to breach that security zone and remain there is fair game and Greenpeace knows this.


In a countries territorial waters, the COLREGS only apply if that country decides that they apply. Countries can also add their own navigation rules if they choose to do so.
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Old 17-11-2014, 08:46   #32
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Re: Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

A side comment but connected with the topic.

Back in my college years of early to mid 80s, there was a lot of enviromental studies etc. connected to rising prices of fossil fuels, arab oil boycotts etc. I distinctly remember an extensive study which was part of our econ. textbook which found that even a 10 year old gas guzzler vehicle getting say 8-10 mpg was a net plus for environment than building and driving a brand new 25-30 mpg one. The reason being that the energy expended in getting the ore out of the earth, making steel out of it, using oil to make plastic parts and paint, puting the car together, moving it from Japan to US or from Detroit to LA, etc. was inflicting infinitely greater damage to teh environment than just keeping the old gaz guzzler for another 10-20 years. I don't recall the exact tipping point but I think it was around 20-22 years for the old car to become more wasteful than a new one. I guess same principle works for boats, may be the tipping point is even longer since the FRP is such an eviro guzzler initially. But it is funny how the biggest supporters of "green everything" are the ones driving shiny new cars, sailing brand new or very recent fiberglass boats and flying from place to place because they're "too busy to act on their principles."
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Old 17-11-2014, 09:23   #33
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Re: Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

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I think this was a bit of machismo run amok.
Probably part of it, maybe a big bit, much as I love Spain and the Spanish people their navy do like a bit of a scrap. They get a bit carried away around Gib as well. Though greenpeace ain't stupid, YouTube must be as big a route to get a message across as any these days, better with some aggro for the masses to enjoy....


PS. The "they might have had lots of explosives in the ribs" comments are interesting , greenpeace as suicide bombers, well in to Fox territory there...
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Old 17-11-2014, 09:48   #34
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Re: Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

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You pre-suppose that that the ramming side was 100% confident that there were no weapons or expolsives on board of the rammed boat. What if they followed your advice, boarded with intent to effectuate arrest and were maimed or killed by booby traps, gun fire or c4 explosion? In a case where a boat has already shown disregard for Colregs' based lawful orders by maritime authorities to stand clear it was prudent of them not to engage greenpeaceniks by boarding but rather by rescuing them from the water. Considering that the whole situation was unprovoked and would have been easier and smarter handled by land based protests, boycotts, marches, etc., I'd rather hear of the ire of some greenpeaceniks at being rammed than to hear the ire of those seamen's families at their loved ones dying from some terrorist act which could have been prevented by ramming.

Not to mention all the fossil fuel expended by both the greenpeaceniks and caused to be wasted as a result of their behavior I find this "protest" unconscienable to begin with from a reasonable person's point of view. For each protest like that they loose thousands if not millions of potential allies and supporters and only will attract the craziest of them to their cause. At some point I will begin to think that all of those "greenpeace harrassers" are gov't agents working to destroy enviro movement by their stupid and dangerous antics. Historically not an unheard of method against prior protest movements of all sorts.
This was Greenpeace, not Al Queda. The are a well known environmental protest group and as far as I am aware have never used any kind of explosive devices(although explosives have been used against them). Their methods are quite well known and the Armada knew who they were. By your logic the authorities should assume that anyone protesting anything should be assumed to be dressed in an explosive vest if they aren't naked. Strike that, Even if they were naked they should be assumed to have swallowed the explosive so they can get closer to their target. I guess we should just shoot them all and then check them for explosives afterwards. You proposed land based protests, but why are land based protests any different than sea based protests. Assuming that land based protesters do something like cross a security line or block an entrance to a lawful facility, your first response would be to run them over with a car, just in case one of them might have swallowed explosives? I sure hope that you are not a person in a position of authority.
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Old 17-11-2014, 10:26   #35
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Re: Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

2 weeks ago I enjoyed an hour-long talk by the former commander of the USS Cole.

The simple facts are that if you violate an exclusion zone you should expect a firm response. Believing otherwise is simply fantasy. When you behave in a belligerent manner and don't listen, there is no reason to expect the response to be mere rhetoric. You will be removed. There are many places where protest is simply not permitted, for everyone's safety.
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Old 17-11-2014, 10:44   #36
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Re: Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

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This was Greenpeace, not Al Queda. The are a well known environmental protest group and as far as I am aware have never used any kind of explosive devices(although explosives have been used against them). Their methods are quite well known and the Armada knew who they were. By your logic the authorities should assume that anyone protesting anything should be assumed to be dressed in an explosive vest if they aren't naked. Strike that, Even if they were naked they should be assumed to have swallowed the explosive so they can get closer to their target. I guess we should just shoot them all and then check them for explosives afterwards. You proposed land based protests, but why are land based protests any different than sea based protests. Assuming that land based protesters do something like cross a security line or block an entrance to a lawful facility, your first response would be to run them over with a car, just in case one of them might have swallowed explosives? I sure hope that you are not a person in a position of authority.
So if they handled the Greenpeace with kid gloves and invited them to tea you think Al Quaida would not notice and would not don greenpeace garb for their next attack? I understand that a Monday morning quaterback is always in the winning column but at some point we must admit that even the best intentioned causes can and will be damaged by their misguided and frankly stupid supporters.

As to the assuming about protesters elswhere I'd say it's a matter of context. If it's a bunch of greenpeaceniks with signs are walking toward a public square on foot it's one thing. If it's a boat going at full throttle toward a CG vessel and breaking maritime law in the process it's something else entirely.
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Old 17-11-2014, 10:51   #37
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Re: Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

The stated goal of Greenpeace in this operation is to prevent drilling there -- "we can't allow this drilling to take place".

The legal way to prevent drilling is to lobby the Spanish legislature to pass a law against it.

Greenpeace can't do that -- it will fail, because most people are in favor of it.

OK, so far so good -- there is also civil disobedience, sometimes an essential thing when legal means don't work. Where would be without Rosa Parks?

But those who commit civil disobedience need to be ready to face the legal consequence of it -- like Rosa Parks was. And not whine about it.


In this case, Greenpeace violated an exclusion zone for the purpose of disrupting legal drilling operations. The military have the right to enforce the exclusion zone. Why are Greenpeace whining about it? What do they expect? In fact all these stunts - boarding and "occupying" drilling platforms and so forth are acts of violence, not "peaceful protests", and no one should be surprised if they are prevented by force.

IIRC, in a similar situation in U.S. waters, Navy Seals punctured the tubes of the Greenpeace RIBs. The Spanish Navy might take a lesson there.

I don't think there's anything shocking about the Spanish Navy measures, even if they were somewhat cruder than what others have done. The Greenpeace guys intentionally provoked it, and I bet they're happy with the publicity.

I only have one question -- why did the Russians let that ship go last year? A spell in a Russian prison and confiscation of the ship might have been a very effective measure.
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Old 17-11-2014, 10:56   #38
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Re: Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

The issue of proportionality is always dismissed when the victims are those whose politics you disagree with. Had these been right wing activists protesting a Greenpeace boat, most of you defending the Armada would be complaining about the Armada's unnecessary use of potentially deadly force. We all see the world through the lenses of our politics and the well-being of others is only our concern when the "others" think like us.
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Old 17-11-2014, 11:00   #39
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Re: Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

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IIRC, in a similar situation in U.S. waters, Navy Seals punctured the tubes of the Greenpeace RIBs. The Spanish Navy might take a lesson there.
This is what proportionality and discipline looks like. Puncture the tubes, disable boats, arrest them. end of story. No need to use tactics that could kill someone unnecessarily.
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Old 17-11-2014, 11:12   #40
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Re: Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

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The issue of proportionality is always dismissed when the victims are those whose politics you disagree with. Had these been right wing activists protesting a Greenpeace boat, most of you defending the Armada would be complaining about the Armada's unnecessary use of potentially deadly force. We all see the world through the lenses of our politics and the well-being of others is only our concern when the "others" think like us.
I actually sympatize with and support their goals but definitely not their tactics. And no I am not a "fox watching rightwinger". But I also detest them for using nazi-like tactics of disregarding the law for advancing a just cause and creating situations where others have no choice but to respond with counter-violence. These were not peaceful demonstrators out to make their views known. These were obnoxious and unruly zealots who do not count the popular sentiment against them as a guide for their actions but rather as a prod for more antics.
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Old 17-11-2014, 11:16   #41
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Re: Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

So why would "peaceful activists" in a RIB need to be wearing helmets? The water looked pretty calm. Seems to me that they expected to cause or at least encounter some trouble. So much for "peaceful".

The legitimate protests should have been waged long ago in the courts, the press and the court of public opinion.

Still, bringing warships to a Greenpeace protest is like bringing a gun to a knife fight. Extremely heavy handed and over reaching. Unfortunately, this reminds me of the US police response to protests in Ferguson Missouri. IIRC, only unarmed people were injured there.

Greenpeace, Paul Watson and the Sea Shepard efforts are still relevant and necessary reminders that humans are indeed ruining the world.
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Old 17-11-2014, 11:27   #42
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Re: Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

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This is what proportionality and discipline looks like. Puncture the tubes, disable boats, arrest them. end of story. No need to use tactics that could kill someone unnecessarily.
I don't necessarily disagree with that. I did say that the methods of the Spanish Navy were somewhat crude. Also undermines their own case, since it gives GP some good headlines.

However, let's be clear about two things:

1. The "shock" and "outrage" over the "violence" of the Spanish Navy is pure crocodile tears on the part of GP -- this is exactly what they hoped for -- an "incident" which would produce headlines. The hapless GP volunteers' limbs and indeed lives are not the concern of the organizers of this. Maybe even the volunteers themselves are happy to give up a broken leg or for the "cause". So don't be manipulated by propaganda. The whole operation was a provocation.

2. The use of force to repel a forcible boarding is already "proportionate". Many navies would just shoot in such a situation, and you can be sure that no court would ever condemn the military people for doing so. So "somewhat crude" and maybe somewhat excessive, doesn't mean there is anything outrageous about the Spanish Navy tactics.


I don't have any strong opinions for or against offshore drilling for oil, so I don't have any dog in this hunt. There are good reasons to do it (energy independence for Spain) and good reasons not to do it (risk of environmental damage). So my opinion about this is not tainted by any opinions about the cause itself.
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Old 17-11-2014, 11:44   #43
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Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

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2. The use of force to repel a forcible boarding is already "proportionate". Many navies would just shoot in such a situation, and you can be sure that no court would ever condemn the military people for doing so. So "somewhat crude" and maybe somewhat excessive, doesn't mean there is anything outrageous about the Spanish Navy tactics.

.

I agree that determining proportionality in cases like this is complicated. Not all force is the same. So the type of force used to prevent boarding should be proportional to the situation. Are protesters placing a life threat to others?... then use deadly force. Are they placing others at significant, but less than deadly, risk of injury?... then use significant but less than deadly force. The question then is what kind of force is proportional when the protesters are placing property but not people at risk? What is the level of force and its associated risk justified in cases of civil disobedience when there are reasonable and significant risks to property and money (from disruptions in operations) but not to people. I don't think it's an easy answer. My view is that the type of force used by the navy seals sounds proportional but the one used by the armada does not.


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Old 17-11-2014, 11:50   #44
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Re: Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

I don't have an issue with arrest, prison, confiscation of the boats, etc as I also do not agree with Greenpeaces tactics. Civil disobedience should be expected to result in arrest. As dockhead said where would we be without Rosa Parks. If I recall correctly Rosa Parks was arrested. The Alabama Police did not get on another bus and crash into the bus she was riding in. There was enough outrage from the arrest to get the law changed though it took some time. It seems to me that the Armada resorted to deadly force (though admittedly not the most deadly force the could muster) before even attempting an arrest. This is the danger of using military personnel as police. Military people are not trained as police. We have the same problem in the US. Since our law enforcement agencies became "first responders" in the war on terror they have become much more militaristic and much less law enforcement officers. They scare me much more than Al Queda.
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Old 17-11-2014, 11:59   #45
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Re: Greenpeace tenders attacked by reckless police

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I don't have an issue with arrest, prison, confiscation of the boats, etc as I also do not agree with Greenpeaces tactics. Civil disobedience should be expected to result in arrest. As dockhead said where would we be without Rosa Parks. If I recall correctly Rosa Parks was arrested. The Alabama Police did not get on another bus and crash into the bus she was riding in. There was enough outrage from the arrest to get the law changed though it took some time. It seems to me that the Armada resorted to deadly force (though admittedly not the most deadly force the could muster) before even attempting an arrest. This is the danger of using military personnel as police. Military people are not trained as police. We have the same problem in the US. Since our law enforcement agencies became "first responders" in the war on terror they have become much more militaristic and much less law enforcement officers. They scare me much more than Al Queda.
True. But Rosa Parks also lived in an era where civilian ribs did not attack and blow up naval vessels, passenger planes were not used to crash skyscrapers and people in general did not aspire to use illegal means to effectuate lofty and moral goals. The argument of disproportionate response is not very compelling if one takes into account disproportionality of the initial GP actions which led to Armada response. Why attack or threaten the working stiffs there when the real culprits behind the drilling are in the seats of power elswhere?
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