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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Greenpeace bites off more than it can chew

This is a howlingly funny story from the London Times Online

"When 35 Greenpeace protesters stormed the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) yesterday they had planned the operation in great detail." Well, sorta. What they were not prepared for was the fact that the floor traders turned on them and just beat the living crap out of them.

When a trader left the building shortly before 2pm, using a security swipe card, a protester dropped some coins on the floor and, as he bent down to pick them up, put his boot in the door to keep it open.
Two minutes later, three Greenpeace vans pulled up and another 30 protesters leapt out and were let in by the others.
They made their way to the trading floor, blowing whistles and sounding fog horns, encountering little resistance from security guards. Rape alarms were tied to helium balloons to float to the ceiling and create noise out of reach. The IPE conducts “open outcry” trading where deals are shouted across the pit. By making so much noise, the protesters hoped to paralyse trading.

What then happened was best described as "the post-prandial aggression of oil traders who kicked and punched them back on to the pavement."

The traders, understandably irritated at the intrusion (and the leftist sympathies of Greenpeace, commodity trading is the raw freedom of markets at its purest essence), left the trading ring, and attacked the protesters in a one-way barroom brawl. They chased the protesters back into the lobby, punching and kicking them, and literally kicked them out into the street.

Having traded on the floor for a living, I can assure you that the kind of people down there are not marshmallow types. It is high energy, egocentric, aggressive, vicious, extremely macho (I know of no women traders who spend any real time in the pits or trading rings) and intensely competitive. I have seen fistfights break out over "outtrades." An "outtrade" occurs during the giant auction of open outcry trading when one trader believes he has bought or sold to another trader, and the second party does not believe such a trade has taken place. The trading exchanges take a hands-off approach and say "you work it out between yourselves" as to who is mistaken. Of course, brawls are not an acceptable way of "working it out," but you have intense raging emotions of fear and greed mixed with the rowdy confusion of the markets and the testosterone fueled atmosphere of the pit. Security comes and drags 'em out; they are fined, or suspended, or both, and the games go on!

If I were a "peace love dope" kind of leftist, they would be the LAST people I would want to take on...., kinda like walking into a biker bar and screaming at them that they are all homophobe neanderthal cretins. Not real smart.

The funniest line came from one Greenpeace dolt who sat outside in the police van, nursing a bruised skull. After calling the floor traders a bunch of "thugs" he said "i have never encountered people so resistant to considering another point of view." heh

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