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23 Okt 2017

Rebecca Leber, Mother Jones (USA)

Commentary: Companies' lawsuits against environmental groups threaten free speech & advocacy

"Corporate Bullies" Are Using RICO Laws to Go After Greenpeace ", 18 Oct 2017

Increasingly, Greenpeace has become the target of major corporations that have argued its aggressive campaigning...constitutes “illegal enterprises” better suited to prosecution under a law that’s known for going after the Mafia. 

...Resolute Forest Products used the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) to accuse Greenpeace of “fraudulently” inducing people all over the world “to donate millions of dollars based on materially false and misleading claims about its purported environmental purpose and its ‘campaigns’ against targeted companies.”

...Free speech advocates also consider the case to be another example of a SLAPP [strategic lawsuit against public participation] lawsuit...[T]he judge found that the case applies to California’s anti-SLAPP law…

...A more serious suit was filed in August by Energy Transfer Partners—the firm behind the Dakota Access Pipeline—against Greenpeace and other environmental groups. Energy Transfer Partners sued the groups this summer also by claiming RICO applies. That case could entitle Energy Transfer Partners to $1 billion in damages if it is successful. Even if they ultimately fail, Greenpeace resources will be tied up in legal fees fighting the charges.

...For First Amendment advocates, these RICO cases against environmental groups are a way of distracting from more serious questions of free speech.

[Also refers to ExxonMobil]

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