Greenpeace Embroiled In New Legal Battles Over It's Environmental Activism
EDITED: The most recent lawsuit is $300 million, not $900 million.
The environmental conservation organization "Greenpeace" is not new to push-back from corporations that seek to exploit the vibrancy of the ecosystem for profit. They have consistently extracted the earth's natural resources, and poured the byproducts back into the earth's air, water, and land. Organizations that express dissent at this bad stewardship are generally met with vitriol, and an outpouring of misinformation (propaganda) intended to misidentify the activist's intentions. The push-back from polluting industries seems to be becoming more absurd in recent weeks. However, as Energy Transfer Partners' legal actions accused Greenpeace of "eco-terrorism", and the most recent lawsuit attempts to paint Greenpeace's actions as "racketeering", a legal net intended to prosecute gangs and mobsters.
The most recent legal action has been brought on by "Resolute Forest Products", a Canadian paper production company based in Quebec. Resolute has filed a $300,000,000 lawsuit against the activist organization, more than 1,000 times the gross profit of Resolute for 2016. When asked what the legal basis was for charging an activist organization under the same laws meant to prosecute organized criminals, Travis Nichols, US media director for Greenpeace, told The Sparx Tribune that there essentially was none, referring to the action as "[a] very tenuous, merit-less lawsuit". However tenuous the lawsuit, the troubling thing may be that there does not seem to be a legal precedent set for such a case (the connection of "racketeering" charges with activism, that is), although Mr. Nichols seemed semi-confident that the case will likely be unsuccessful, citing other media outlets such as Bloomberg, which give optimistic evaluations of the crisis.
It is true that the last similar case was dismissed in court in Oct. 2017, we can only hope that the values of free speech will not be sabotaged by corporate interests in this case. I asked Mr. Nichols if the onslaught of legal battles damages the ability of the organization to engage in activism. "That's the point", he responded pointedly. "If they do win this case, they could silence us, or at least cause catastrophic damage." He also suggested that "... In some ways, they (Resolute) don't care". The intent was not to necessarily win the case, but rather to secure a barrier of fear to prevent such organizations from engaging in actions which question their activities.