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Old 10-31-2003, 02:10 PM   #16
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I didn't say it was based on an employment relationship. If the organization is part of, or lends support to, an illegal action, they are open to prosecution.

Right, I know you didn't. But it seems to me that, just from a quick glance at some cases, that organizations historically have been treated slightly different than employment type relationships when it comes to prosecuting. But I'm not an expert at law, so I don't know for sure.

It will be interesting to see if this will open up any doors into investigating if what Greenpeace states is true, that the importing of this Mahogony is in fact illegal. No that will never happen, what am I thinking.
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Old 10-31-2003, 02:11 PM   #17
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October 11, 2003

Greenpeace faces federal indictment

By Adam Liptak
The New York Times




Three miles off the Florida coast in April 2002, two Greenpeace activists clambered from an inflatable rubber speedboat onto a cargo ship. They were detained before they could unfurl a banner. They spent the weekend in custody, and two months later they were sentenced to time served for boarding the ship without permission.

It was a routine act of civil disobedience until, 15 months after the incident, federal prosecutors in Miami indicted Greenpeace itself for authorizing the boarding. The group says the indictment represents a turning point in the history of American dissent.

"Never before has our government criminally prosecuted an entire organization for the free speech activities of its supporters," said John Passacantando, the U.S. executive director of Greenpeace.

First Amendment questions

In court papers, the organization's lawyers warned that the prosecution "could significantly affect our nation's tradition of civil protest and civil disobedience, a tradition that has endured from the Boston Tea Party through the modern civil rights movement."

Legal experts and historians said that the prosecution may not be exactly unprecedented, citing, for instance, legal efforts by state prosecutors in the South to harass the NAACP in the 1950s and 1960s. But they said it was both unusual and questionable.

"There is not only the suspicion but also perhaps the reality that the purpose of the prosecution is to inhibit First Amendment activities," said Bruce Ledewitz, a law professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh who has studied the history of civil disobedience in America.

Matthew Dates, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Miami, declined to respond to questions about whether the prosecution was unusual or politically motivated. In court papers, prosecutors defended the indictment.

"The heart of Greenpeace's mission," they wrote, "is the violation of the law."

The trial is scheduled for December.

Greenpeace is a corporation and so cannot, of course, serve prison time. It can, though, be placed on probation, requiring it to report to the government about its activities and jeopardizing its tax-exempt status. If convicted of the misdemeanor charge, Greenpeace also could face a $10,000 fine.

The group is charged with violating an obscure 1872 law aimed at the proprietors of boarding houses who preyed on sailors returning to port. The law forbids the unauthorized boarding of "any vessel about to arrive at the place of her destination."

The last court decision concerning the law, from 1890, said it was meant to prevent "sailor-mongers" from luring crews to boarding houses "by the help of intoxicants and the use of other means, often savoring of violence."

Passacantando said he had authorized the boarding in 2002.

"I do give final sign-off on an action like this," he said. "The buck does stop with me."

Protest over mahogany

Greenpeace maintains that the ship in question was illegally importing mahogany from Brazil. The harvesting and shipment of mahogany is governed by stringent international rules meant to prevent damage to the Amazon's environment. In the indictment, federal prosecutors said that Greenpeace's information was mistaken.

Passacantando said the prosecution of the organization itself, as opposed to its supporters, is unwarranted and part of what he called Attorney General John Ashcroft's attack on civil liberties. He acknowledged, however, the importance of ensuring the safety of the nation's ports in light of the Sept. 11 attacks.

"If we were to lose this trial," he said, "it would have chilling effect on Greenpeace and on other groups that exercise their First Amendment right aggressively. The federal government is using 9-11 to come down harder on an action like this, which was a good and dignified and peaceful action."

Even a minor criminal conviction, legal experts said, could have profound consequences for Greenpeace.

"You in effect have a record," said Rodney Smolla, dean of the University of Richmond School of Law in Virginia. "It has a chilling effect."

In their legal papers, prosecutors acknowledged that a conviction could have tax consequences and "a chilling effect on First Amendment rights." Nonetheless, they opposed the organization's request for a jury trial, which is ordinarily available only where the defendant faces more than six months in prison.

The potential loss of constitutional rights, prosecutors wrote, does not require a jury. In support of this argument, they cited a misdemeanor domestic violence prosecution in which the defendant was denied a jury trial although he faced the possibility of losing his license to carry a gun.

In contrast to speculation about the impact of a conviction on Greenpeace's First Amendment rights, prosecutors wrote, the defendant in the gun case "was not entitled to a jury trial even though he was definitely faced with loss of his Second Amendment rights."
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Old 10-31-2003, 02:16 PM   #18
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Don't they need some kind of cooperation or at least a statement from the mahogony people? I don't think they would want to be very cooperative if the shipment was indeed illegal.

Captain: "yeah, I was just transporting my illegal cargo minding my own business..."
Judge:
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Old 05-19-2004, 07:36 PM   #19
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Bush vs. Greenpeace: CASE DISMISSED

On Monday, May 17th, the first U.S. criminal suit for civil disobedience ever brought against an advocacy group began. In April 2002, Greenpeace boarded a ship containing illegally logged mahogany from the Amazon and attempted to hang a banner. Fifteen months later, Bush's Justice Department brought sail-mongering charges against Greenpeace instead of prosecuting the smugglers of the illegal cargo. Just two hours ago the case was DISMISSED!


Yea!!!
This is why we need a different admin. that won't clog out Justice system with neocon clones.
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Old 05-19-2004, 10:19 PM   #20
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i'm glad it was dismissed although i'm not that surprised. it sounded like a pretty lame case. good news for greenpeace.
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Old 05-20-2004, 03:22 PM   #21
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So, are you saying it is okay for Greenpeace to illegally board ships?
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Old 05-20-2004, 05:38 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
So, are you saying it is okay for Greenpeace to illegally board ships?

Oh my God! Because they are so threatening. You never know what could happen with those banners!

As long as they are exposing unethical and questionable practices, its okay by me.
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Old 05-20-2004, 06:22 PM   #23
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Interesting, illegal activity is okay for good. We'll just forward this on to the folks at Abu Ghraib
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Old 05-20-2004, 06:27 PM   #24
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But if we would go with this analogy, then the whole US Army should be punished (one year prison and dishonored discharge) because individuals tortured prisoners in Iraq.
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Old 05-20-2004, 06:28 PM   #25
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Hanging banners is pretty different from beating, stripping, and sexually assaulting people, don't you think?
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Old 05-20-2004, 06:37 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Interesting, illegal activity is okay for good. We'll just forward this on to the folks at Abu Ghraib

IMO this is sinking way too far. An act of civil disobenience versus torture.

What I see happening is the supporters of the admin stretching to even more extreme basis of evil. They have no moral authority anymore so we will just continue to attack wrongly
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Old 05-20-2004, 06:49 PM   #27
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Hanging banners is pretty different from beating, stripping, and sexually assaulting people, don't you think?
I am not equating the two. The principle that illegal activity is justified to further a political objective does not sit well.
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Old 05-20-2004, 07:26 PM   #28
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The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it.

It gives them self respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not think they had.

Finally, it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality.
~MLK
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Old 05-21-2004, 05:57 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Interesting, illegal activity is okay for good. We'll just forward this on to the folks at Abu Ghraib


A rubber dingey and a banner compared to torture and rape! Good one!

Please NB, the law is not black and white. Some laws are good (ones that prevent us from killing each other) other laws are questionable (ones that protect people/companies engaged in destroying the planet).

God knows what your country would be like now if no one ever questioned what is legal and illegal.
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Old 05-21-2004, 01:09 PM   #30
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Then, for the sake of liberty, laws should be written to allow the activities you want.
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