LONDON,16 August 2001 - Greenpeace's recently appointed Executive Director, Gerd Leipold, today criticised President George W Bush for putting the world's future at risk with a "truly astonishing policy path that could undo so much progress in environmental protection and world peace".
Speaking at the launch of the organisation's Annual Report, Dr. Gerd Leipold said that in pursuing the Star Wars programme details at http://www.stopstarwars.org/ rejecting the Kyoto climate change agreement and threatening to open the Alaskan Arctic Wildlife Reserve to oil exploitation, President Bush was failing to protect the environment to satisfy his corporate supporters.
Leipold was particularly critical of the harsh conspiracy charges brought by the US against 15 Greenpeace activists and 2 journalists. Details at http://www.stopstarwars.org/html/press.html "The charges have a strong political motivation to them." All face up to six years in jail if convicted, unprecedented for peaceful protest and more usual for violent
assault and drug dealing.
Previous charges against protesters at Vandenberg have not been of a criminal nature. Their arrest followed a protest at sea off the Vandenberg Airbase at the start of a Star Wars missile test. "All our activists are
prepared to go to trial to defend what they believe in. It is Star Wars that should be on trial. Our activists were there because Greenpeacers care. No one else can do what Greenpeace is doing in opposing Star Wars.
With our reach we can take the message globally. Our supporters, old and
young, are committed to mobilise at short notice.
>From the Arctic to tiny Pacific Islands we are unique in being able to challenge President George W Bush in every area of the Star Wars programme. This is the kind of "globalisation"- people working together to make the
world a better place "that should be seen as the way ahead for us all." Gerd Leipold said Greenpeace had started in 1971 with a protest against US nuclear weapons testing and had for the last 30 years, challenged all those threatening to damage the planet. With 25 National Offices http://www.greenpeace.org/contactsnew.shtml and a presence in 39 countries Greenpeace has continued to grow. "We now have 2.65 million paying supporters and with every additional supporter, we increase the strength of our voice." Gross income rose by 14 percent to 146 million Euros (1999, 126m Euros) and net income rose for the sixth year in succession to 103m Euro (a 7 percent rise from 1999).
Greenpeace said its commitment to the developing world had continued with two offices - India and South-East Asia - beginning to campaign last year. Greenpeace China (which more than doubled its income) and Greenpeace Argentina (whose income rose by 87 percent) showed there is rapid growth of interest in Greenpeace and concern for environmental issues. The offices in both China and Argentina are now financially "self sufficient".
Download a summary version of the 2001 Annual Report from http://www.greenpeace.org/annualreport.shtml
Greenpeace International's campaign achievements 2000-2001 at http://www.greenpeace.org/campaign_achievements.shtml