(Photo: Peter Klaunzer, AP) Russian officials say activists threaten security of personnel on Arctic offshore drilling platform. Thirty people on Greenpeace ship have been jailed for two months. Russian officials say charges will be filed soon against the activists. SHARECONNECT 29 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE MOSCOW (AP) Russia’s main investigative agency on Monday accused Greenpeace activists of posing a “real threat” to the security of personnel on an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic, another indication that Moscow plans to prosecute the jailed environmentalists for their protest. All 30 people who were on a Greenpeace ship, including two journalists, have been jailed for two months pending an investigation into their Sept. 18 protest at the platform owned by state-controlled energy giant Gazprom. The Investigative Committee said charges would be filed soon, but did not specify whether it was still considering charging the activists with piracy, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The investigators said the Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, had violated the 500-meter security zone around the platform and that it was carrying equipment whose purpose was still unclear. In a statement, the investigators said they had seized some equipment and documents from the ship as part of their ongoing search. Greenpeace Russia denied the ship had ventured closer than the 500 meters established by Russian and international law. The inflatable boats used by activists to scale the offshore platform did violate this zone, but posed no danger, the organization said. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
The real story from this week’s UN General Assembly is that Russia, not America, is now the dominant power at the Security Council for the first time in the history of the UN. This dramatic shift in the power balance at the UN seems to have been completely overlooked by many of those covering the meeting, who are more interested in wittering on about the proposed Security Council resolution on disarming Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile (it won’t work)or Iran’s utterly transparent charm offensive (they are desperate to get the sanctions lifted) towards some of the world’s more gullible world leaders. But the key to this disturbing realignment in the global power structureis clearly visiblein the draft of the Security Council resolution on Syria, which entirely reflects Russia’s interests at the expense of those of the Western powers. America, Britain and France, the three Western members of the five permanent members of the Council, wanted the option to take punitive action against the Assad regime if, as most observers expect, Damascus does not fully comply with the U.N.’s requirements. (Nor has anyone considered how U.N. inspectors can be expected to examine and neutralise stockpiles of chemical weapons in the midst of a civil war.) But Russia is determined to prevent any form of military intervention in Syria, and to that end insisted that the resolution be watered down to the effect that, if Assad fails to comply, then the issue will be referred back to the U.N. where, as we know from history, it will be subsumed by the organisation’s bureaucratic complacency. In short, Russia has won the diplomatic battle, and the Western powers, after all their threats to bomb Assad into submission,have been made to look weak and impotent. Apply this paradigm to Iran and it is not hard to see why Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has decided to embark on a charm offensive with the West. Just like Syria, the Russians have no intention of allowing the Western powers and that includes Israel to take military action against Iran over its decade-long refusal to cooperate with the U.N. over its controversial nuclear programme, which most intelligence experts believe is designed to build atom bombs, rather than power stations. And with President Barack Obama desperate to avoid a confrontation with Iran, Syria or any of the regions other rogue states, the key to resolving the Iranian crisis lies in Moscow, not Washington or New York. And if that’s the case, then don’t expect Iran to give up enriching its uranium anytime soon. All the more reason for Iranian diplomats to smile warmly at their American counterparts.