Dangerous, Upside-Down, Trumpian Lawsuits

I wish I could be in San Francisco next Tuesday on October 10th. That’s the day that one of two outrageous lawsuits, Trump-like in its over-the-top dishonesty, filed against Greenpeace, Stand.earth and five individuals, will be heard in US District Court. It may be thrown out by the judge. Or it could be allowed to proceed.

This $300 million lawsuit against the enviro groups was filed by Canada’s largest logging corporation, Resolute, in May of 2016. The law firm for this company: Donald Trump’s personal law firm.  Resolute said the enviros, which for years had campaigned against Resolute’s logging practices, were conspiring illegally to extort the company’s customers and defraud their own donors.

An article just published by Inside Climate News explains more: “Invoking the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, a federal conspiracy law devised to ensnare mobsters, the suit accuses the organizations, as well as several green campaigners individually and numerous unidentified ‘co-conspirators,’ of running what amounts to a giant racket. ‘Maximizing donations, not saving the environment, is Greenpeace’s true objective,’ the complaint says. ‘Its campaigns are consistently based on sensational misinformation untethered to facts or science, but crafted instead to induce strong emotions and, thereby, donations.’ Dozens of the group’s campaign emails and tweets, it said, constituted wire fraud.”

As if this weren’t outrageous enough, on August 22 of this year, Energy Transfer Partners, the company which built the Dakota Access Pipeline, filed a lawsuit in North Dakota on similar grounds alleging that Greenpeace, Earth First! and BankTrack are “a network of putative not-for-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups who employ patterns of criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation to target legitimate companies and industries with fabricated environmental claims and other purported misconduct, inflicting billions of dollars in damage.”

These lawsuits, designed to silence criticism, are textbook examples of SLAPPs: Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.

Here’s how Wikipedia defines SLAPP’s: “a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.[1] Such lawsuits have been made illegal in many jurisdictions on the grounds that they impede freedom of speech.”

Linda Black Elk, a coordinator with the Medic Healer Council for the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock, said this in an article on the Color Lines website: “Their suit makes these amazing environmental organizations look like slick, White profiteers, who have worked us poor, ignorant Indians into a frenzy over ‘groundless claims’ concerning harm to the environment and sacred sites. They are saying that we, as this nation’s original people, don’t have the intelligence or self-determination to care about our lands, water, plants, wildlife or sacred sites. . . This is all part of a larger strategy on behalf of Energy Transfer to completely discredit Native peoples in general and delegitimize water protectors specifically. It could also intimidate these big green groups from partnering with grass roots people in environmental campaigns.”

That’s why it’s so important for that courtroom in US District Court in San Francisco to be overflowing Tuesday morning with supporters of those who are standing up for human rights and our wounded Mother Earth. If you’re able to make it, please do so!

If you can’t make it, you can find out more and about what you can do here.

More information on Ted Glick’s past writing and other information can be found at http://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jtglick.