Greenpeace Southeast Asia

TODAY: Conditions “harsh and disproportionate” for red-carpet activists and Sea Shepherd bat-mobile sunk by whalers by Chuck Baclagon

Coverage in Spain and European free dailies continued yesterday on the campaign to release the four red-carpet activists in Copenhagen. Spanish news documented the condition of Juan Lopez de Uralde in prison as “thinner than usual”, with a quote from Kumi Naidoo referring to conditions as “harsh and disproportionate”. Reports described a cell with only a mattress and security camera.

GP’s Mario Rodriguez is quoted saying “surprisingly our colleagues are being treated as common criminals. We see disproportionate measures being carried out with them and believe they are a punishment to the civil society striving for a better world. We know that the government is acting, but we ask for higher intensity. And we are asking citizens to continue to mobilize for all the activists to be released immediately.”

On non-violent civil disobedience

An opinion piece in ABC (Spain) – slightly unsympathetic – argued that complaining about human rights is not appropriate in the case of Denmark, where “respect for human rights is exquisite” and that activists make a choice to protest. We asked Facebookers if they thought civil disobedience should be a punishable crime? Check out their responses here.

On a similar topic, the Belgian Interior has produced an analysis of the Greenpeace motorcade at a Brussels summit in December with new guidelines for security at future summits in the EU capital. Tighter security measures will be in place for the first time at an extraordinary meeting on the economy on February 11. For example, delegates will now be required to enter through different doors.

Japanese whalers sink Sea Shepherd bat-mobile-boat

The Sea Shepherd boat has been in international news today, after being wrecked from a collision with Japanese whalers out hunting in the Southern Ocean. “Luckily no one was in the bow of the vessel at the time of the collision or they certainly would have been killed instantly” said Sea Shepherd spokesman Chris Aultman. Japan’s Fisheries Agency, which oversees the country’s whaling program, says it is investigating the incident. The story was reported by AP, AFP, AAP, EFE and has traveled throughout Australia, Asia and Europe. Some stories have picked up on the issue of Japan continuing to hunt whales despite the 1986 moratorium. Greenpeace has re-stated that it is separate from and not affiliated with Sea Shepherd, despite some confusion on Twitter.

The incident has added to anti-whaling momentum though, with AAP reporting that Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister has criticised the Japanese Government for hiring Australian aircraft to spy on the activities of anti-whaling protesters. “We do not condone this action by the Japanese Government at all. We’re urgently seeking legal advice about this matter” said Ms Gillard. Earlier, another Senator told ABC television Australian PM Kevin Rudd should use legal action as part of diplomatic efforts with the Japanese to stop whaling. The country’s Minister of the Environment has also spoken out about it.

On the other side of the Antarctic, AP reported, the Chilean Senate has approved a resolution of protest to the Japanese parliament against whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Socialist Senator Jaime Naranjo and Juan Pablo Letelier said that since the moratorium in 1986 Japanese whalers have taken 8 million whales. Greenpeace was quoted saying there were now 3 vessels heading for the antarctic to hunt around 1000 whales.

Drop in Bluefin tuna sales

The first auction of tuna for 2010 at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market was reported by EFE, where 570 tuna were sold – a sharp cut on numbers in previous years. Greenpeace’s 2009 report highlighting the serious decline of bluefin tuna was quoted, with estimates that breeding has dropped by 74.2 percent over the last 50 years.

GE reaction to UK’s food security fear

The Guardian has reported the UK’s “chief scientists” have said the UK must embrace GE crops and cutting edge nanotechnology to avoid “catastrophic food shortages.” In the clearest public signal yet that the government wants a hi-tech farming revolution, Professor John Beddington said UK scientists need to increase food production in a world changed by global warming and expected to have an extra 3 billion people to feed by 2040, and that this will need to include biotechnology and genetic engineering.

Alternative climate conference

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has called for an “alternative conference on climate change” to be held between October 20 and April 22 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. In his conference call, he emphasised that the poor are the most affected by the consequences of global warming, while 75% of emissions of greenhouse gases originate “in the industrialized north.”

Melissa Wilson

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