Greenpeace cuts military supply chain to war on Iraq

Press release - 27 January, 2003

Greenpeace flagship the MV Rainbow Warrior blocks the Marchwood Military Port in Southampton today while activists paint an anti-war message on the stern of a military supply vessel as part of the global campaign to prevent a military attack on Iraq. Greenpeace believes the possibilty of war would kill hundreds of thousands of civilians and increase the chances of weapons of mass destruction being used.

The Greenpeace flag ship Rainbow Warrior today blocked the departure of UK military supply vessels heading for the Gulf. The Rainbow Warrior occupied the Marchwood Military port in Southampton, on the South coast of England by dropping anchor and blocking the exit, while Greenpeace climbers attached themselves to the loading crane and anchor chain of the supply ship the Magdelena Green. Crews in inflatable boats are painting "No War" on the side of the vessel. Other commandeered civilian vessels have been also loading day and night with helicopters, tank transporters, trucks and other military hardware.

The Greenpeace non-violent direct action is part of the global campaign to prevent a military attack on Iraq.

Speaking from the bridge of the Rainbow Warrior, Stephen Tindale, Director of Greenpeace in the UK said:

"We are determined to stop the headlong rush to a war which places a higher price on oil than on blood. War with Iraq would not make the world a safer place: it would increase support for terrorism and could lead to the use of weapons of mass destruction. The human and environmental impacts would be appalling and no one would benefit other than George Bush and oil companies like ExxonMobil."

Greenpeace is opposed to war in Iraq, whether or not an attack is sanctioned by the United Nations, because it would have devastating human and environmental consequences. According to military and health experts a conventional war could kill over 200,000 people, mainly civilians, and a further quarter of a million could die from famine and disease (MEDACT). If war escalates to involve chemical or nuclear weapons the death toll could even run into millions.

US President George Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony 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 stable basis for controlling them. It would require repeated armed interventions against numerous countries. States known to have nuclear weapons include India, Pakistan and Israel. The Bush administration has stated that at least 13 countries are pursuing biological weapons research.

The war is clearly motivated by oil. The same forces that are backing the war are also opposing the US signing the Kyoto Protocol, which would begin to combat climate change. The same US companies that fuel America's oil addiction and oppose the Kyoto Protocol are also backing the war against Iraq. The British Government has recently announced that one of the top five priorities for foreign policy is securing access to energy supplies. Yet Blair still denies that an attack on Iraq has anything to do with oil.