Greenpeace admitted in legal filings its campaign to vilify a Canada-based logging company was based on “hyperbole” and “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion” that weren’t meant to be taken literally.
That’s what Greenpeace admitted to avoid being held liable for damages in their legal battle against the logging company Resolute and its subsidiaries. The green group began targeting Resolute’s operations in 2012.
Resolute CEO Richard Garneau wrote at National Review Online that Greenpeace “harassed companies we do business with, threatening them with the same sort of smear campaign that they launched against us and even instigating cyber-attacks on their websites.”
Greenpeace called Resolute “forest destroyers” who were causing a “caribou death spiral and extinction” in their campaign to get the company to bend to environmentalist demands. Greenpeace even has a webpage listing their case against Resolute, and what it wants the company to do, which includes suspending logging operations.
“And they bragged about the damage — $100 million, in Canadian dollars — that they claimed to have inflicted on our business,” Garneau wrote. So they sued to stop Greenpeace’s campaign.
Resolute sued Greenpeace in Canadian court in 2013 for defamation and economic interference and again in U.S. court in 2016 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
In total, Resolute is seeking more than $228 million in damages against Greenpeace.
Greenpeace fought back, but their defense consisted of arguing they couldn’t be held accountable for their claims against Resolute. Why? Because they were based on “heated rhetoric” that shouldn’t be taken “literally.”
“Greenpeace considers these lawsuits to be meritless [sic] and obvious SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) tactics intended to silence Greenpeace and other critics of Resolute’s logging practices in the Canadian forest,” Greenpeace wrote in a blog post, responding to the lawsuits.
“We will not be silenced,” Greenpeace wrote.
Yet, Greenpeace was raising money off such campaigns, according to Garneau. He wrote that “the eco-provocateurs at Greenpeace have been raising money off the calculated mistruths that we are somehow responsible for the destruction of vast areas of forest.” There’s no evidence of forest loss where Resolute operates.
Greenpeace uses “ALARMIST ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOIDS” — that’s what they internally call it — in campaigns like this to raise money, according to Resolute’s legal filing.
Greenpeace is saying these factoids are “rhetorical hyperbole” — not based on scientific evidence, but opinion.
Resolute’s lawsuit against Greenpeace is somewhat ironic given the international eco-group’s support for RICO-style investigations into oil companies that allegedly lied about global warming.
Greenpeace, citing reporting by liberal news outlets, claims “that Exxon was researching the causes of climate change and the dangers of climate disruption since at least the 1970s.”
“In the 1990s, the fossil fuel industry — with significant funding and participation from Exxon — launched a campaign to seed doubt about the causes and effects of climate change,” Greenpeace wrote.
“We continue to call on the Department of Justice to investigate Exxon for potential fraud,” Greenpeace wrote on its website.
“Mr. Garneau is claiming that Greenpeace is backing down on its claim that Resolute destroys forests, but nothing could be further from the truth. As we have made clear, both outside of court and in our legal pleadings, Resolute’s irresponsible practices are permanently altering the resilience of the forest and impair its ability support the viability of woodland caribou. We called Resolute a Forest Destroyer because it is destroying what is essential to the forest, an assessment that was based on thorough scientific research that has been corroborated by independent scientists. We stand by that assessment. Now, Resolute is trying to twist our legal arguments and spin more lies about Greenpeace in a continuing effort to silence us and bully us into backing down from our legitimate advocacy work, but we have no intention of doing so,” Tom Wetterer, general counsel for Greenpeace in the US, said in a statement.
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