Don’t even think about messing with South Korea.
South Korean intelligence officials targeted Greenpeace’s top activist, as world leaders prepared to meet in Seoul for a G20 conference in 2010.
Documents obtained by the UK Guardian show that South Korea’s National Intelligence Service requested documents from South African intelligence officials about Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace’s executive director.
South Korean intelligence asked South African officials “to indicate any possible security threat against the president of South Africa during the G20 summit to be held in South Korea from 11-12 November 2010.” Intelligence officials specifically asked South Africa for “security assessments were requested on the following SA nationals: the Director of Green Peace [sic], Mr Kim Naidoo” and two other men who were arrested by anti-terrorist police in 2004.
Greenpeace is known for its aggressive tactics to push an environmental and anti-nuclear agenda. Activists have been known to fend off Japanese whaling ships, board offshore oil rigs and hold mass demonstrations. Greenpeace has gotten into trouble recently for desecrating a Peruvian heritage site in order to promote solar energy.
In 2012, Kaidoo and other activists stormed an Arctic oil rig owned by Gazprom, a Russian state-owned energy company. Kaidoo said the “peaceful” action was meant to put “an end to the madness that is putting the profits of an elite few above the interests and safety of the rest of us.”
The left-leaning Guardian said in the run up to the 2010 G20 meeting, “Naidoo called for action over climate change, international poverty and gender inequality, and for global tax initiatives to back it up.” Naidoo was also arrested several times as a teenager participating in South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, and spent a period of exile in the U.K.
South Korea is not the only country whose intelligence agency identified Greenpeace as a national security threat. Intelligence officials in Canada, France and India have all at one point or another targeted Greenpeace for its anti-nuclear and anti-energy activism.
Last year, Indian intelligence officials said environmental groups, especially Greenpeace, were “negatively impacting economic development” by orchestrating “massive efforts to take down India’s coal fired power plants and coal mining activity.”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported in January 2014 there “is a growing, highly organized and well-financed anti-Canada petroleum movement that consists of peaceful activists, militants and violent extremists who are opposed to society’s reliance on fossil fuels.”
The Mounties made similar findings in 2011, saying “[c]riminal activity by Greenpeace activists typically consists of trespassing, mischief, and vandalism, and often requires a law enforcement response.”
The Guardian reports that in “1985, the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior was sunk by French intelligence agents in Auckland, New Zealand, on its way to protest against a French nuclear test, killing a photographer.”
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