Substitute a Russian ice breaker / drilling rig for a oil tanker, the location of the Arctic for the Horn of Africa and the white faces of those crewing the RHIB's for black faces

Now one has all the ingredients of potential piracy on the West Coast of Africa

So what is the difference? Ah! the elusive motives of environmental protection instead of ransom, the absence of guns; but how would you know whether arms were present on a RHIB doing 40 mph towards you, in this situation?

Especially as all this culminated in an attempt to board a Russian oil-rig by a group of Greenpeace activists wearing balaclavas - in other words Piracy. However, laudable the motives were in attempting to prevent Russia despoiling the Arctic - "we're going to try and stop the drilling" (tweeted from Arctic Sunrise), it was still attempted piracy.

Russia then went on to take control of the 'mother ship' from which this attack had emanated. Contrast this with world navy's searching for Somali Pirate mother ships far out into the Indian Ocean.

Does the end justify the means? - and if one does believe this, then where are the boundaries. After all the Somali Pirates could claim that hijacking ships for ransom was in order to feed their people - a pretty compelling point of view, how does one argue with that!

The problem with these 'stunts' is that most of the time those involved are rather naive like children and don't seem to realise the impact (seriousness) of their actions.

When caught out we get the plaintiff bleating about not realising what could go wrong or the fact that they were attempting something illegal (piracy). Then the inevitable expectation for the rest of the world to excerpt pressure on Russia, who are depicted as the aggressor in all this, to free those involved

And now we are subject to a lot of posturing and bravado by those who have been released by Russia. Frankly, they should thank their lucky stars that Russia recognised their 'antics' for what they were, and decided that the whole process of arraigning them was more trouble than it was worth on the world stage, at a time when the Winter Olympics were deemed more important

The Sunday Times (29 December 2013) has just run a fairly nauseating story about about one of those released - Kieron Bryan - presumably because he is a journalist; nothing like pandering to ones own! Perhaps he has learn't his lesson and in his own words, will be less 'gung-ho' about future assignments, but as a journalist why was his judgement so awry and naive in the first place?

And as for Greenpeace - they seems to be veering ever more towards the 'boys own' adventure club style, when a rather more considered approach could probably have just as much effect, but 'unfortunately' not so dramatic; so fewer headlines

The following question needs to be asked - How far are Greenpeace prepared to go in 'hanging their own people out to dry' in order to get headlines?

Having taken a quick look at the Greenpeace organisation setup there would seem to a few other areas to be addressed:

  • Greenpeace UK is not a Charity
  • Greenpeace Environmental Trust is a Charity

Charities are permitted to claim Gift Aid on donations, although they are subject to Charity Commission rules such as an annual risk-management requirement and accompanying disaster recovery procedures.

The Greenpeace Environmental Trust accounts (y/e 31 December 2012) under Notes: 7 for grants handed out, shows an amount given to Greenpeace UK of £1,112,500 for the year.

Questions:

  • Is Greenpeace Environmental Trust being used as a vehicle in order to obtain Gift Aid on donations, which are subsequently passed on as tax-refunded grants to Greenpeace UK?
  • Is Greenpeace UK used for high profile demonstrations, bypassing the Charity Commission requirements for risk-assessment and potentially conducting illegal operations (i.e. Piracy) outside the sphere of the Charity Commission - whilst at the same time having these operations funded by Gift Aided donations from Greenpeace Environmental Trust?

In other words is the relationship between Greenpeace Environmental Trust and Greenpeace UK being abused in order to utilise the 'best' vehicle under different circumstances?

References

The Charity Commission Publicatons

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