Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
SPOTLIGHT: Greenpeace, which has long repudiated free speech for others, is now using it as a shield.
BIG PICTURE: Resolute Forest Products, a Canadian company that employs 8,000 people, is suing Greenpeace. It says it’s the victim of an ongoing “misinformation campaign” that is “malicious, false, misleading, and without any reasonable factual basis in numerous respects.”
Electronics retailer Best Buy was pressured by Greenpeace to stop printing flyers on Resolute paper. Many other former clients have similarly backed away. Whether or not these third parties are persuaded by Greenpeace’s arguments, no one wants to become its next target – especially if they’re facing other business challenges. Many feel intimidated and extorted. Threatened with boycotts and petitions, they take the path of least resistance.
Resolute’s legal complaint, the contents of which have not been proven in court, says it has cooperated with Greenpeace and others concerning the work it does. But because Greenpeace depends on a steady flow of donations from an alarmed public, the lawsuit alleges that Greenpeace’s bottom line requires conflict rather than harmony and goodwill. Resolute says Greenpeace has falsely accused it of unsustainable logging, falsely claimed it has harvested trees in prohibited areas, and has used false maps to mislead the public.
The Greenpeace playbook, says the lawsuit, involves “sensational, alarmist, and false claims about impending calamity.” A prominent company is then blamed for this calamity. Greenpeace activists have spent years calling Resolute a ‘Forest Destroyer,’ even though it has planted a billion trees in Canada’s Boreal forest while Greenpeace has planted none.
In court documents of its own, Greenpeace argues, on page after page, that whether or not its accusations are true, it’s all a matter of free speech which is protected by law. But here’s the problem: for more than a decade, a Greenpeace website has loudly declared that free speech “does not apply to misinformation.”
The website, whose purpose is to bad-mouth fossil fuel company ExxonMobil, says that people who challenge the dominant climate narrative are not entitled to free speech protection. The website includes a FAQ with this question: “Don’t the deniers have a right to free speech?”
Greenpeace responds: “There’s a difference between free speech and a campaign to deny the climate science…freedom of speech does not apply to misinformation…”
TOP TAKEAWAY: According to its own logic, Greenpeace should be cast into a deep, dark pit of despair.
|Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist
→ Receive posts via e-mail by signing up on the right side of this page, above – or by following this blog on Facebook and Twitter.
→ Download or e-mail a PDF of this post by clicking the Print button under Share This below – then select the blue arrow beside PDF at the bottom left.