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Old 10-31-2003, 10:21 AM   #1
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Greenpeace

This is exactly how the Patriot Act can be misused.


Personal Voices: Ashcroft's Attack On Greenpeace

By John Passacantando, AlterNet
October 30, 2003

Yesterday the Greenpeace ship MV Esperanza arrived in Miami. However, rather than pulling into port, as Greenpeace ships do throughout the world, she will remain at anchor.

The Port of Miami has refused us entry because John Ashcroft's Justice Department is prosecuting us for a protest action last year. The prosecution is unprecedented. Never before in U.S. history has an entire organization been prosecuted for a peaceful protest by its supporters.

For years we have worked to end environmental destruction and human rights abuses in Brazil's Amazon rainforest. Destruction of these habitats threatens clean air and water, animal and plant species, and the people and cultures who depend on forests for their way of life. Large criminal enterprises, using bribery, extortion, slavery and murder, continue to ravage the Amazon and export their contraband.

Last year, two Greenpeace activists climbed aboard a ship carrying Amazon mahogany wood. They held a banner that said "President Bush: Stop Illegal Logging."

Instead of halting the shipment, the government is prosecuting Greenpeace in federal court in Miami. It has charged Greenpeace under an obscure 19th-century law never intended for this purpose. A trial is now set for December.

Leading legal experts, quoted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and publications around the world, agree that this prosecution is disturbing and poses a threat to free speech.

From the Boston Tea Party to the civil rights movement, public protest actions have helped bring positive change in the U.S.

Our actions worldwide have played a critical role in, for example, stopping atmospheric nuclear testing, protecting Antarctica from exploitation, and banning radioactive waste dumping at sea.

But if this prosecution succeeds, non-violent protest may become yet another casualty of John Ashcroft's attack on civil liberties.

John Passacantando is the executive director of Greenpeace USA.

Take Action:
Contact President Bush and John Ashcroft and tell them to prosecute illegal loggers, not Greenpeace

Contact the authorities in Miami and tell them that they should allow the Esperanza to dock in Miami.
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Old 10-31-2003, 10:42 AM   #2
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"John Ashcroft's Justice Department"

"John Ashcroft" and "justice" are two words that do not work together at all (Ashcroft wouldn't know what justice was if it bit him on the butt).

That really sucks that Greenpeace is being persecuted for a mere protest (which, if I understand correctly, is what the FIRST AMENDMENT to our Constitution allows).

They've got my support. I hope that things work out for them in this trial.

Angela
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Old 10-31-2003, 10:45 AM   #3
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This sucks. They have my support as well.
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Old 10-31-2003, 10:54 AM   #4
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This sucks. This administration has reeked havoc on civil liberites. I love how "we're fighting to preserve the Constitution" yet they piss on it when it doesn't go their way.

But how was the Patriot Act used in this case?
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Old 10-31-2003, 10:55 AM   #5
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Old 10-31-2003, 11:10 AM   #6
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That's what I would like to know, on what law was this based?
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Old 10-31-2003, 11:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by DrTeeth
That's what I would like to know, on what law was this based?
That may be information that doesn't support the opinion of the author.


Greenpeace has every right to voice its opinion.


But Greenpeace does not simply voice its opinion. It materially interfers with the rights of others as they board ships, hang banners, etc. For those actions, there should be no surprise with any subsequent prosecution.
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Old 10-31-2003, 11:33 AM   #8
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Here's what I found out.

Quote:
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."
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Old 10-31-2003, 11:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


That may be information that doesn't support the opinion of the author.


Greenpeace has every right to voice its opinion.


But Greenpeace does not simply voice its opinion. It materially interfers with the rights of others as they board ships, hang banners, etc. For those actions, there should be no surprise with any subsequent prosecution.
Well from what I found out they didn't even get to hold up the banner.

The problem is, you don't prosecute the organization. You prosecute the individuals who perpetrated the act. Should we prosecute the NRA next time someone gets shot by a handgun. Do we prosecute the Pro-life group next time an abortion doctor is killed? No, that would be ridiculous.
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Old 10-31-2003, 11:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
Well from what I found out they didn't even get to hold up the banner.

The problem is, you don't prosecute the organization. You prosecute the individuals who perpetrated the act. Should we prosecute the NRA next time someone gets shot by a handgun.
If individuals act on their own, they are prosecuted on their own. If they act throught the structure and organization of Greenpeace, Greenpeace gets prosecuted. This is a universal principle. If I act as an individual, I get sued. If I act while an employee, my employer gets sued.

The NRA, as much as some may loathe the organization, does not promote the shooting of others with handguns.


Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
Do we prosecute the Pro-life group next time an abortion doctor is killed? No, that would be ridiculous.
Actually, they have prosecuted pro-life organizations for protests.
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Old 10-31-2003, 12:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


If individuals act on their own, they are prosecuted on their own. If they act throught the structure and organization of Greenpeace, Greenpeace gets prosecuted. This is a universal principle. If I act as an individual, I get sued. If I act while an employee, my employer gets sued.
I don't think they were employees. There's a thin line when you come to organizations. The KKK has never been prosecuted as a whole for their "protests".
Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader

The NRA, as much as some may loathe the organization, does not promote the shooting of others with handguns.
No but one can argue that if it wasn't for their lobbying this individual may have not had the handgun.


Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader

Actually, they have prosecuted pro-life organizations for protests.
All the cases of Pro-Life groups being prosecuted, that I've found, were for violence and extorsion.
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Old 10-31-2003, 01:11 PM   #12
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The Patriot Act wasn't involved in this case, but it does allow it.

This still stinks to me. They should have prosecuted the people inporting the mahagony, not the two people.
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Old 10-31-2003, 01:25 PM   #13
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I agree.
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Old 10-31-2003, 01:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
I agree.
So do I. And great points, as well.

Angela
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Old 10-31-2003, 01:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
I don't think they were employees. There's a thin line when you come to organizations. The KKK has never been prosecuted as a whole for their "protests".
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.


Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
No but one can argue that if it wasn't for their lobbying this individual may have not had the handgun.
Might as well sue the drafter of the Second Amendment. This is probably better as a separate topic.

Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
All the cases of Pro-Life groups being prosecuted, that I've found, were for violence and extorsion.
If this is true, the claims are based on protest actions (such as sit-ins infront of abortion clinics. Certainly no worse that actions taken by a union during a strike.
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