ARCTIC NATION: Santa Citizenship, Canada-Russia Tussle, Greenpeace “Arctic 30,”

December 26, 2013 at 11:54 pm Leave a comment

Is Santa Canadian?

It was meant as a light-hearted public service message that obtaining a Canadian e-passport is quick and easy – but when Ottawa issued passports to Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus before Christmas, it was also driving home a point about who owns the North Pole.

The Canadian government is exploring ways to legally justify its territorial claims in the Arctic (see post below) which it says includes the waters around the North Pole. That claim – made by the government of conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper – has ruffled Russian feathers (Moscow also claims ownership of the Pole) and certainly gotten the attention of the other countries that make up the Arctic Council: Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the United States.

“Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today presented Santa and Mrs. Claus with the 2,999,999th and 3,000,000th ePassports at a special ceremony in Vaughan, Ontario,” the government announced in a tongue-in-cheek news release – that also claimed the Clauses live at North Pole, Canada – the Toronto Globe and Mail reported December 20.

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Cold Rush to Cold War?

The “Cold Rush” to lay claim to the Arctic’s rich untapped mineral resources may be shifting to an arms race at the top of the world.

Arctic Circle Nations

Arctic Circle Nations

Canada and Russia could be at the start of an arms race in the Far North after the Canadian government announced December 9 their intentions to extend their territorial claims to include th waters – and the land beneath them – extending to North Pole.

Canada’s foreign minister, John Baird, said his government had asked scientists to work on a submission to the United Nations arguing that the outer limits of Canada’s territory include the north pole, which has yet to be claimed by any country, the Guardian reported.

That announcement prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to direct his defense leaders to start building up military force and infrastructure in the Arctic.

The Ottawa’s action and Moscow’s reaction confirms what many observers feared would happen as the global warming trend makes the Arctic and itys vast oil, gas and mineral resources more accessible, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Analysts predicted a “Cold Rush” of nations trying to stake a claim to the riches beneath Arctic waters and flood expected new ice-free sea lanes with cargo, naval and cruise vessels.

* * * *

Greenpeace Protestors Released

Russia has dropped charges against all 30 Greenpeace environmental activists involved in protests against Arctic oil drilling, the group says.

The first of the 30 to be released – Soviet-born Swedish activist Dima Litvinov – crossed the border into Finland after receiving an exit stamp on his passport, ITV reported. Thirteen other protestors – arrested in September and charged with hooliganism for a protest at an offshore Russian oil drilling rig – have also received the exit stamp which allows them to leave Russia. The rest of the so-called “Arctic 30,”” are expected to go through the process Friday (December 27).

The charges were dropped after Russia’s parliament passed an amnesty law that was seen as an attempt by the Kremlin to deflect criticism of its human rights record in advance of the Winter Olympic Games being held in Russia in February, according to the Guardian.

From a train bound for Helsinki, Litvinov said Russia owed him a medal rather than a pardon for his protest work. “The Arctic has still not been saved and there’s a lot to be done” he said.

Defense Dept. photo

Defense Dept. photo

ARCTIC NATION is an occasional 4GWAR posting on the Arctic. The U.S. “National Strategy for the Arctic Region” describes the United States as “an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests in the Arctic Region, where we seek to meet our national security needs, protect the environment, responsibly manage resources, account for indigenous communities, support scientific research, and strengthen international cooperation on a wide range of issues.”

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Entry filed under: Arctic, BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China), National Security and Defense, Naval Warfare. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

SHAKO: Mikhail Kalashnikov, John S.D. Eisenhower Obituaries FRIDAY FOTO (December 27, 2013)

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