Antarctic Monkeys

(A guest post by Gus of 1820 fame.)

Anyone who didn’t believe in karma should take a peek at what’s going on in the Antarctic Ocean. As Associated Press reports: “The crew of a Japanese whaling ship (the Nisshin Maru) stranded in Antarctic waters by a fire that killed one seaman were trying to repair its engines yesterday so that they could reach safety by their own power rather than accept a tow from Greenpeace.”

The news that the Nisshin Maru is the only ship in the whaling fleet able to process whale carcasses, and the season may have to be abandoned if the ship is inoperable will no doubt make your heart break. But there’s a more serious side, if the ship breaks up it will cause havoc to the delicately balanced eco-community of the region.

It’s another piece of great PR for Greenpeace, fresh from their legal triumph over Blair’s dodgy consultation process on new nuclear things, but the environmental campaigners are are facing their own challenges. Greenpeace’s brand of direct action and well managed media messages faces a new challenge from the most right-wing communists you’ll ever meet. In the latest spate of attacks on charitable status after the Smith Institute contoversy, Thomas Deichmann writing in Spiked! challenges Greenpeace’s charitable status arguing that they act ‘politically’.

Keen readers will recall that Deichmann is a stalwart of the ex-Revolutionary Communist Party / Living Marxism group. He focuses on Greenpeace’s direct action against GM foods and suggests such misbehaviour is quite at odds with Greenpeace’s “charitable status”. As GM watch argues: “To judge by Deichmann’s other writings, however, his concern about trespassing in barns and sticking labels on supermarket products, does not necessarily extend to more serious lawbreaking – crimes like torture, rape, mutilation and murder.” As ever in these propaganda wars, things are not as they seem.

GM Watch continue’s: “Prior to his reinvention as a GM expert, Deichmann was perhaps best known for his writing on the Bosnian war. In one of his pieces on Bosnia, Deichmann accused British journalists of fabricating evidence of imprisonment and atrocities at the Serb-controlled camp at Trnopolje. The magazine that published his claims was sued out of existence. The court found, as did war crimes tribunals at the Hague, that – contrary to Deichmann’s claims – Trnopolje was a camp where Muslims were undoubtedly imprisoned and where many were beaten, tortured, raped and killed by their Serb guards.”

Deichmann’s anti-Greenpeace article comes courtesy of Sp!ked, but Deichmann has spoken on GM crops and the Third World for Spiked’s sister organisation, the Institute of Ideas (IoI). Both IoI and Sp!ked are the successors to LM – the magazine which published the Trnopolje claims that led to its demise. Deichmann is editor in chief of Novo, LM’s sister magazine in Germany. Deichmann’s book on GM was published by Novo’s publishing house.

GM’s Jonathan Mathews argues: “This is an incestous and self-perpetuating world of undisclosed affiliations within which “experts” are reinvented and the truth subjugated according to the ideological need of the time. In recent years the LM network, to which Deichmann belongs, has promoted an extreme libertarian ideology that leads them to be ultra-relaxed about crimes like paedophilia, race hate etc., but to fiercely oppose any kind of restrictions on technologies like nuclear power, genetic engineering and human cloning, or on the corporations that promote them.”

In order to punch above their tiny weight, the LM network often hide their affiliations and engage in infiltration of media organisations; or operate via front groups or by colonising existing lobby groups. You can see or hear them regularly across the media – Claire Fox (or sometimes Foster) is a regular on Radio 4’s Moral Maze, Question Time etc Ironically, these front groups often enjoy charitable status.

The irony doesn’t stop there. Deichmann argues Greenpeace should have its charitable status removed because it disseminates “unscientific opinion on scientific issues”. Interesting, given that the LM network and its various fronts have been in the thick of climate change denial.”

More on Deichmann.

More on the LM network and its various guises.

Or read Deichmann’s Just How charitable is Greenpeace? Here.

But the Nisshin Maru and Arctic Sunrise – like Greenpeace and the LM Group have some previous. Only last year they collided in Australian Antarctic Territory in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

According to an ABC report, Shane Rattenbury from Greenpeace said that the Arctic Sunrise had been observing their activists onboard inflatable zodiacs as they painted the words “whale meat from sanctuary” on the side of the Japanese supply vessel, Oriental Bluebird, shortly before the collission occurred. According to Mr Rattenbury, it appeared to be a deliberate move by the Japanese Factory ship.

“At the time we were over a kilometre from the Nisshin Maru – it had been tied up with another vessel making transfers, it then pulled away, it had to come around the vessel that it had been transferring from and had to head directly toward the Arctic Sunrise,” he said. “There were no other vessels in the area and there was no reason to head towards us, the Arctic Sunrise was virtually stopped at the time.”

“There is no way to describe this as anything but a deliberate ramming which placed the safety of our ship and the lives of our crew in severe danger.” said Rattenbury. He said that the Nisshin Maru is more than twice as long and six times heavier than the Arctic Sunrise. The impact has left the Sunrise “battered and bruised” but with no crew members were injured.

Statements by both parties conflict as to when the collision occurred and who caused the collision, but the video of the incident on the Greenpeace site clearly shows the Nisshin Maru cutting across the path of the Arctic Sunrise in breach of the collision avoidance rules at sea.

As these boats and these environmental issues collide, groups like Greenpeace and the LM group will clash over ‘the truth’. But increasingly being a ‘climate-change denier’ may become the unacceptable face of capitalism’.

One look at Sp!ked (‘online and off-message’) shows how consistently anti-environmental the ‘off-message’ is. Headlines such as: “Greenpeace and the courts have delayed New Labour’s energy white paper. That’s no victory – for you, me or the planet” or “For a government whose transport policy is to punish motorists, the 1.5million who signed a petition against road-pricing are a political pollutant” show the tone.

At least with Greenpeace its funding is clear. It’s a membership organisation with 2 and a half million members worldwide. How are Sp!ked and the Institute of Ideas financed? They say: “spiked relies for its existence on donations from readers, sponsorship from a variety of institutions and companies and contributions from founding investors.”

  1. G. Tingey said:

    It certainly looks as if this Deichmann character is a deliberate serial public liar, doesn’t it?

    I could be wrong, of course, but, on the form shown so far …….

  2. If I recall correctly, and I may be wrong, Greenpeace doesn’t actually have charitable status. It certainly doesn’t claim gift aid on donations. If that is the case the entire Deichmann piece is an own goal.

  3. Good post, Guy. The main characteristics of Spiked have always been the obsessive droning repetition of favourite freemarketarian tropes, together with shoddy arguments that often grind to a halt in the midst of a flagrant contradiction.

  4. My apologies.