Rainbow Warrior Blocks Military Port

Press release - 1 February, 2003

Greenpeace flagship RAINBOW WARRIOR setting up peace blockade at Southampton's Marchwood military port stopping military hardware leaving for the Gulf.

Greenpeace flagship the Rainbow Warrior today (1/2/03) set up a peace blockade at Southampton's Marchwood military port stopping military hardware leaving for the Gulf. Greenpeace resumed the peace blockade by anchoring the Rainbow Warrior directly in front of the military port where supply vessel 'Dart 8' is loading with helicopters, tanks and jeeps. The renewed peace blockade follows the failure of Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon to get a High Court injunction banning the Rainbow Warrior from the area. The High Court Judge granted an interim injunction stipulating that Greenpeace must not board or touch the MOD chartered vessels. As part of the global campaign to prevent an attack on Iraq, Greenpeace earlier this week sucessfully blockaded the Marchwood port and set up a peace camp on a military supply ship before extreme weather ended both protests.

Speaking from the Rainbow Warrior Greenpeace campaigner Rob Gueterbock said, "Every hour Blair is dragging this country closer towards a war that the British people don't want. Day and night tanks and helicopters are streaming though Marchwood as part of the build up of the military machine. Greenpeace is determined to do everything we can to stop this headlong rush into a war that will only make the world a more volatile and dangerous place."

The peace blockade is part of the global campaign to prevent a military attack on Iraq that could kill thousands of civilians and increase the chances of weapons of mass destruction being used. An attack on Iraq is clearly a barely disguised desire to take control of Iraq's huge oil reserves. Greenpeace is opposed to war in Iraq, whether or not an attack is sanctioned by the United Nations.

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 stable 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 stated that at least 13 countries are pursuing biological weapons research.

Greenpeace believes the solution to 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 Bush administration.

The war is also clearly motivated by oil. The same forces that are backing the war are also supporting the US's refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol, which would begin to combat climate change. The same US companies that maintain 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.