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US Justice Dept Fails in Legal Action Attacking Greenpeace US

pixie people | 21.05.2004 08:08 | Ecology | Repression

Good News!

The outrageous attempt by the US authorities to attack the whole of Greenpeace USA after an anti Bush / Logging ship demo in april 2002 has failed.

There's also the case i think about the greenpeace activists who dressed as tigers boarded a ship in an oil / climate protest. when one of them was tackled to the ground the idiot doing the tackling broke his wrist - now all of the activists who took part in the action / PR stunt are now facing felony charges!!

The US administration is getting well out of line in terms of attacking protesters, even now going as far as the fluffy greenpeace ngo types, but hey, i guess that's hardly surprising news to you folks.

Anyway below is the press release and links for more info. Screw Bush!



Issued: 20th May, 2004. The Bush administration's attempt to crack down on Greenpeace US failed yesterday, when Judge Adalberto Jordan dismissed charges against the organisation in the midst of the second day of a trial in Miami. The administration had been trying to indict Greenpeace US using an obsolete "sailormongering" law aimed at stopping prostitutes luring sailors from their ships.

The case was the first time that US Justice Department had indicted an entire organisation for the peaceful protest activities of its supporters. It served as a wider test case for the future of freedom of speech and protest groups in the United States. If Greenpeace US had been found guilty it could have lost its tax-exempt status and been placed on up to five years' probation.

Shortly after the Justice Department rested its case, the judge granted Greenpeace's motion for acquittal, ruling that there was insufficient evidence to send the case to the jury.

The case stems from a protest that took place off the coast of Florida in April 2002. Two Greenpeace activists peacefully boarded a ship that was carrying illegal mahogany wood from the Brazilian Amazon into the Port of Miami. The activists, who clearly identified themselves as Greenpeace, intended to hang a banner that read "President Bush: Stop Illegal Logging." The individuals involved in this non-violent protest were arrested, and misdemeanour charges against them were settled later that year.

However, instead of intercepting the illegal mahogany and prosecuting the smugglers, the Justice Department filed criminal charges against Greenpeace on July 18, 2003. Greenpeace was charged under an obscure 1872 law against "sailormongering." The 1872 law was passed to prevent the practice of tavern and brothel owners waylaying ships heading into port and enticing their crews ashore. Legal experts believe that the law has only been used twice in the entire time it has been on the statute books, the last time being in the 19th century.

"America's tradition of free speech won a victory today but our liberties are still not safe," said Greenpeace Executive Director John Passacantando.

"The Bush administration and its allies seem bent on stifling the U.S. tradition of civil protest. Greenpeace is grateful to everyone who stood with us -- from former vice president Al Gore to the citizens of Miami and people around the world. We will never give up the struggle to protect our forests, our air, and our water and to build a green and peaceful future."


For more information, visit

CONTACT ONSITE: Sara Holden, Greenpeace International Press Officer +1 202 415 5414 (please note time difference to Miami).

UK CONTACT: Louise Edge, Greenpeace UK Press Office 0207 865 8115.

pixie people