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Greenpeace Takes Global Action Against War

Greenpeace Takes Global Action Against War

London, Tuesday, 4th February 2003: Greenpeace took peaceful direct action in Australia, France and the UK today to as part of an ongoing campaign against an impending war in Iraq.

At 7.45 am this morning, fourteen Greenpeace volunteers entered Southampton's Marchwood Military Port in the UK. Seven were arrested but five volunteers managed to climb inside tanks about to be loaded onto Ministry of Defense chartered supply ships, destined for the Gulf, and secured the hatches behind them. Two more activists chained themselves to the tanks.

At the same time, Greenpeace activists in Toulouse harbour, France, protested the departure of military aircraft carrier to Turkey this morning and demanded President Chirac to explain why he is sending such aircraft to Turkey given that he is publicly opposed to military action in Iraq. In Australia last night, activists inflated a hot air balloon outside Parliament House in Canberra message demanding that the Australian government stop sending troops to Iraq and to 'give peace a chance'.

Speaking from the Rainbow Warrior, in Southhampton, Greenpeace campaigner Blake Lee Harwood said: "Greenpeace will use every peaceful means available to try and stop an attack on Iraq. The UK Government has already ordered the cutting of our anchor chain and attempted to have the Rainbow Warrior removed from this military port but we will continue to find ways to oppose a war that will have disastrous consequences (1). An attack on Iraq would lead to massive civilian suffering and increase the threat that weapons of mass destruction will be used."

Bush and Blair have cited Saddam Hussein's desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction as justification for an invasion. However, pre- emptive military strikes against states possessing or suspected of possessing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons do not provide a basis for controlling them. It would require repeated armed interventions against numerous countries. The five nuclear powers are Britain, the US, China, France and Russia. Other states known to have nuclear weapons include India, Pakistan and Israel. The Bush administration has claimed that at least 13 countries are pursuing biological weapons research.

Greenpeace believes the solution to the threat weapons of mass destruction is collective international arms control and disarmament. The framework already exists, in the form of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. But rather than being strengthened, these global treaties are being undermined, especially by the USA.

One clear motivation for this war is oil. The same U.S. companies that maintain America's oil addiction and oppose the Kyoto Protocol are also backing the war against Iraq. A wave of protests against war for oil are scheduled to take place in the U.S. later today. (2)

Visit Notes to Editors: (1) Greenpeace has been trying to stop the build up of the UK's military machine for over a week. On Monday 28th January Greenpeace's the Rainbow Warrior blockaded the military port to prevent Ministry of Defense chartered supply ships from leaving. On Wednesday 30th Greenpeace volunteers boarded the vessel the MV Lyra as it lay anchored in the Solent with a cargo of military vehicles. Both protests ended in the face of extreme weather conditions. On Saturday 2nd February the Rainbow Warrior resumed its peace blockade of the military docks until the ship was stormed by police who cut her anchor chain and used powerful tugs to force her into a berth. (2) see

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