Greenpeace, the multi-million dollar behemoth with an estimated annual revenue of 300 plus million USD, is facing its biggest threat to its existence. Charged in US Federal court under the “mafia law,” which is a misnomer, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or RICO, is used when a local court is unable to establish jurisdiction over what is a transnational criminal enterprise.
We are not suggesting Greenpeace is a criminal enterprise, that is for the courts to decide but the allegations are considerable serious giving us a glimpse inside a direct action group like Greenpeace.
Greenpeace is faced with the demand by Resolute, a Canadian paper company, and is arguing the defense of Freedom of Speech, the right to speak up, and the right to demonstrate without interference.
But if we read the court filings the Freedom of Speech is actually never an issue, regardless of the full brunt counter-claims by Greenpeace.
Resolute is actually arguing to allow the court to discover the truth by looking at Greenpeace documents, their financials, and their machinations. Until now, Greenpeace and other direct action NGOs like the U.S. Rainforest Action Network, have escaped public scrutiny.
Phil Radford the former Greenpeace U.S. head has stated its campaigns caused a business to loose 74% of its market share. If true, the Canadian paper company Resolute has a point.
“…Greenpeace and WWF and Rainforest Action Network targeted the biggest buyers in the world of APP’s products. In the U.S., we cut about over 75 percent of their U.S. market. In Canada, Greenpeace cut a significant portion of their market; also New Zealand and Western Europe….”
Greenpeace and other direct action NGOs for too long have stood above the law. The line of their transgressions is long, ranging from damaging the famed Nazca Lines in Peru, the speculation with 3-4 million dollars of donor monies in Europe, felony convictions in Ohio after targeting Procter & Gamble, false allegations, cutting fishing nets, spotty science, internal revolts, and according to its own court recordings, opinions, not facts are just some of Greenpeace’s actions.
Greenpeace India was rocked by rape allegations. In 2014 in Ohio Greenpeace pleaded guilty for felony burglary and vandalism charges and criminal trespassing. In 2010 an ‘direct action’ targeting Maltese fishermen, Greenpeace France announced, “…all our militants have are bags of sand to weigh down the nets and free the fish…”, after one of the activists was injured after the locals defended their fishing rights.
Peru’s deputy minister for culture criticized the actions, called Greenpeace “thoughtless, insensitive, illegal, irresponsible and absolutely premeditated.” Two key words stand out: premeditated and militants.
With Greenpeace France calling its own activists ‘militants’, the line between peaceful-non-violent activism and ‘direct action’-militancy is crossed. So is premeditation. Former FBI Director Mueller, now Special Counsel to investigate Donald Trump in 2006 was clear on the definition of terrorism.
He was quoted, “Terrorism is terrorism — no matter what the motive,” when he announced the indictment of 11 people in an alleged conspiracy that involved 17 attacks by eco-terrorists. Is economic sabotage, part of eco-terrorism? After all economic warfare, which is what NGOs wage is war by other means. After all, in 2012 the group declared war on commodities.
Targeting of Lego and the use of paid negative media to pressure the toy company to cancel its business relationship with Shell is another. The objective was to impact Shell. In the eyes of Greenpeace the action was a complete success. In the eyes of many six year olds, the Greenpeace campaign borders on sheer nonsense.
Greenpeace ships are considered a non-state navy. The argument of Greenpeace waging an asymmetrical war has also been raised. The government of India thought so and banned the group from the country.
While we hold the political elite to account over fake news and falsehood, Resolute has a point to hold Greenpeace to account. The governments of Russia, India, New Zealand and Canada certainly did. The arrests of the crew – initially charged with piracy – was the result of violating Russian federal law. Later Dutch authorities arrested 44 Greenpeace activists.
The Governments of India, which alleged violating local laws engaging in financial fraud and falsifying data banned Greenpeace and put others on notice, China, and the Russian Federation changed their laws because of aggressive NGO action. Canada and New Zealand revoked the charity status of Greenpeace as not having anything to contribute to society.
The Washington Post, a bastion of liberal US media, blasted Greenpeace in June last year after 107 Nobel laureates signed a letter blasting Greenpeace over its false science. The letter campaign was organized by Richard Roberts, chief scientific officer of New England Biolabs and, with Phillip Sharp, the winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for the discovery of genetic sequences known as introns.
“We’re scientists. We understand the logic of science. It’s easy to see what Greenpeace is doing is damaging and is anti-science,” Roberts told The Washington Post. “Greenpeace initially, and then some of their allies, deliberately went out of their way to scare people. It was a way for them to raise money for their cause.”
The Greenpeace defense confirmed the spotty science as mere opinions and hyperboles.
Contrary to the image Greenpeace presents, the debate is not about Freedom of Speech or the right to demonstrate against perceived or real injustice but is about Greenpeace actions targeting companies and causing real unjust economic damage.
If the court permits, the application of discovery will shed the true light on Greenpeace at both here at home and abroad. But legal observers are less hopeful. Allowing a RICO application to proceed will be a major blow to Greenpeace and send a strong signal to other victims of Greenpeace.
Greenpeace achieved a small victory in being allowed to move the case to California and since then has produced a puppy-eyed plea for public support claiming innocence. It’s campaign poses the question, “what if Greenpeace disappears?”
But today’s slogan is nothing new. It is a repeat of a 1978 slogan printed in the December edition of Mother Jones. So what if Greenpeace would disappear?
The answer is simple. Nothing.
Many within the NGO movement argue that Greenpeace has long ago lost its social permit and has turned into a money making machine for the new green elite. And maybe it is about time Greenpeace apparatchiks commence some soul searching about its future.
Slogans aside, besides costly stunts, what does society get for 300 million USD in annual donations? So far, not much except costly new regulations offloaded on the average consumer. The public effectively pays for increases in costs for energy, waste disposal, and general products to be “green.”
Resolute has taken up the battle with Greenpeace based on a long history of false allegations, innuendos, and claims. As Greenpeace admitted to its wrong-doings, its claim of innocence and defense is a moot point.
To answer the question, “What if Greenpeace disappears?” is simple. Not a lot tears would be spilled. It would just be another has-been extremist group heaped on the garbage pile of history.