Tag Archives: Greenpeace

Multinational Nuclear Energy Company Found Guilty of Hacking Activists Computers

France’s state energy firm EDF has been fined €1.5m by a Paris court for spying on Greenpeace.  Its head of nuclear production security in 2006, Pascal Durieux, was given a three-year sentence with two years suspended, and a €10,000 fine for commissioning the spying. The Nanterre court also sentenced the security No 2 in 2006, Pierre-Paul François, to three years, 30 months suspended. EDF has also been ordered to pay €500,000 in damages to Greenpeace.  The judge further handed down a guilty verdict on Thierry Lorho, head of Kargus, a firm employed by EDF to hack into Greenpeace’s computers. He got three years in jail, two suspended, and a €4,000 fine.

EDF is the world’s biggest nuclear energy supplier; it owns the UK nuclear power operator, British Energy, and is a major sponsor of the London Olympics. It was charged with complicity in concealing stolen documents and complicity to intrude on a computer network. EDF and Greenpeace have fought for years over France’s power production, more than three-quarters of it nuclear. According to confidential court testimony released by a French website, Mediapart, two years ago, EDF had organised surveillance not only of Greenpeace in France, but broadly across Europe since 2004.  In 2006, EDF hired a detective agency, Kargus Consultants, run by a former member of France’s secret services, to find out about Greenpeace France’s intentions and its plan to block new nuclear plants in the UK. The agency hacked the computer of Yannick Jadot, Greenpeace’s then campaigns director, taking 1,400 documents.

An EDF official had no immediate comment. In the trial, EDF said it had victim of overzealous efforts, and had been unaware anyone would hack a computer. “The fine and the damages awarded send a strong signal to the nuclear industry that nobody is above the law,” said Adélaïde Colin for Greenpeace France. “In the runup to the next presidential elections … voters should keep this scandal in mind.”

The outrage among anti-nuclear campaigners echoes that which emerged when it was revealed that France’s secret services were behind the bombing of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior 26 years ago. Moreover, safety is a very live issue since Japan’s Fukushima disaster.

Excerpt, EDF fined €1.5m for spying on Greenpeace, Guardian, Nov. 10, 2011

Oil Drilling in the Arctic: Environmental Commandoes weapon freedom of information

Armed Danish commandoes are thought to have been landed on a giant oil rig by helicopter to prevent environmentalists interfering with a British oil company’s controversial exploration of deep Arctic waters. In a stand-off in the Davis Strait, west of Greenland, the Danish navy has been shadowing the Greenpeace ship Esperanza as it tracked the 53,000 tonne Leiv Eiriksson in iceberg-strewn sea to the site where it plans to search for oil at depths of up to 5,000ft.  The confrontation between Denmark and Greenpeace, which argues that it is dangerous to drill for oil in pristine Arctic waters, follows the decision by Scottish oil company Cairn Energy to explore for oil and gas in Baffin Sea this summer.

Fears that an Arctic spill would be difficult if not impossible to clean up were confirmed in an email exchange between the British Foreign Office and the energy secretary, Chris Huhne, that was obtained by Greenpeace under freedom of information legislation. Officials briefed Huhne, saying: “It is difficult to get assistance in case of pollution problems in such areas, and near impossible to make good damage caused.”…Ruth Davis, chief policy adviser at Greenpeace UK said: “These documents make it clear that companies like Cairn are playing Russian roulette with one of the most important environments in the world. When even the UK government recognises the huge risks associated with the oil drilling in the Arctic then it must be time to halt the rush for oil in one of the most delicate ecosystems in the in the world.”

Cairn says it has prepared comprehensive oil spill plans, and has put up a bond of $2bn. Last month it said in a statement: “Wherever it is active, Cairn seeks to operate in a safe and prudent manner. The Greenlandic Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum has established some of the most stringent operating regulations anywhere globally, which mirror those applied in the Norwegian North Sea. Cairn respects the rights of individuals and organisations to express their views in a safe manner.”

Seven major oil companies have licenses to explore off Greenland but Cairn will be the only one to begin operations in the short July-October “summer window” when the ice has retreated. Cairn holds 11 licences covering over 80,000 square kilometres and plans to drill four exploratory wells to depths of around 5,000ft, the deepest ever attempted in the Arctic.

Fears that Greenpeace plan to prevent work have been heightened since the group occupied one of Cairn’s drilling ships working in shallower Arctic waters last years, and 11 climbers also boarded the Leiv Eiriksson, when it left Turkey for Greenland last month. Greenpeace also tried to stop the rig as it passed Greece and Italy last month but was prevented by storms.

Excerpt, John Vidal, Danish commandoes wade into Greenpeace Arctic oil protest,Guardian, May 24, 2011