Guest Post – When Green means stupid

Imagine a defamation court case where the defence is that the published statements were “hyperbole,” “heated rhetoric,” and “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion” that should not be taken “literally” or expose them to any legal liability.  It is like saying “truth is not my defence – untruth is”.  Bizarre?  Sure is but it is what Greenpeace are saying about their alleged defamation of Canada’s largest forestry company.

A couple of years ago Greenpeace climbed all over Resolute, the Canadian giant over their actions in what is called the Boreal Forest.  They dubbed them “forest destroyers”, attacking a wide range of practices including their activities involving local Indian groups.  Resolute called their bluff threatening to sue.  Greenpeace backed off and retracted.  However, in true activist style, they continued the claims against Resolute, even raising funds on the back of their claims so as to fight off a “big corporate”.  

Resolute moved on them filing in both the Canadian and USA courts saying that the company had lost business as a result of Greenpeace’s vicious claims.  The claims are for hundreds of millions and could even dent Greenpeace’s $470 million a year income.

When Greenpeace filed their defence their ludicrous claims emerged. “The publications’ use of the word “Forest Destroyer,” for example, is obvious rhetoric,”  Further, “Resolute did not literally destroy an entire forest. It is of course, arguable that Resolute destroyed portions of the Canadian Boreal Forest without abiding by policies and practices established by the Canadian government and the Forest Stewardship Council, but that is the point: The “Forest Destroyer” statement cannot be proven true or false, it is merely an opinion.”

In other words, Greenpeace admits relying on “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion,” and because its claims are not meant to be factual, the group believes it cannot be held legally responsible for what it says.  They are saying, “we can lie, exaggerate and deceive with impunity”.  “We are above the law”.

If that is the case then we should take their statements on global warming/climate change with a grain of salt.  They are simply opinion that may be true or maybe false. Their claims about Exxon knowing the facts about rising temperatures could well be “hyperbole that is not verifiable”. Greenpeace claims it can’t be sued because its misleading claims were not meant to be factual, but it then claims the U.S. Department of Justice needs to investigate an energy company for what it calls “misleading the public.”

As Dr Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace now says, “The organisation I co-founded has become a monster…….Greenpeace has knowingly made itself the sworn enemy of all life on Earth. By opposing capitalism, it stands against the one system of economics that has been most successful in regulating and restoring the environment”.

One of the great ironies is that Greenpeace receives massive financial and other support for its environmental attacks from the Rockefeller Foundation that made its billions from oil. When a scientist like Willie Soon is accused of accepting “dirty oil money” to deny climate change claims it is the most heinous and despicable of crimes.

When a lobby group that raises multi-millions considers itself immune to legal claims it is taking arrogance and deception to disturbing heights. Playing fast and loose with the truth at this level leads to an undermining of society’s fabric and an impossible state of affairs where trust and the rule of law go out the window.

It was only a few weeks ago that NASA was accused and found guilty of using fabrications and exaggerations in the climate change debate.

The case against Greenpeace will wind on for months, even years, but hopefully, it will be a salient lesson to them and the many like-minded lobby groups who find it easy to dispense with the truth to win over public opinion and the policy makers.


-Name withheld by request

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.