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UK: Domestic Terrorists Greenpeace Acquitted

September 15, 2008

The threat of global warming justifies breaking the law?

The Independent UK

Excerpts

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
Thursday, 11 September 2008

The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.

Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a “lawful excuse” to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of “lawful excuse” under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage – such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.

The acquittal was the second time in a decade that the “lawful excuse” defence has been successfully used by Greenpeace activists. In 1999, 28 Greenpeace campaigners led Lord Melchett, who was director at the time, were cleared of criminal damage after trashing an experimental field of GM crops in Norfolk. In each case the damage was not disputed – the point at issue was the motive.

The climbers had planned to paint “Gordon, bin it” in huge letters on the side of the chimney, but although they succeeded in temporarily shutting the station, they only got as far as painting the word “Gordon” on the chimney before they descended, having been threatened with a High Court injunction. Removing the graffiti cost E.ON £35,000, the court heard.

During the trial the defendants said they had acted lawfully, owing to an honestly held belief that their attempt to stop emissions from Kingsnorth would prevent further damage to properties worldwide caused by global warming. Their aim, they said, was to rein back CO2 emissions and bring urgent pressure to bear on the Government and E.ON to changes policies. They insisted their action had caused the minimum amount of damage necessary to close the plant down and constituted a “proportionate response” to the increasing environmental threat.

Greenpeace profile @Discover The Networks

[…]

Taking issue with Greenpeace’s anti-biotech stance, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore left the organization and now laments that the group has become “dominated by leftwingers and extremists who disregard science in the pursuit of environmental purity.”

According to a December 20, 2005 New York Times report, “the F.B.I. investigated possible financial ties between [Greenpeace] members and militant groups like the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front.”

Greenpeace is a member organization of the United For Peace and Justice antiwar coalition, the Win Without War antiwar coalition, and the Abolition 2000 antiwar coalition.

An expose of Greenpeace’s fundraising practices carried out in 2003 by Public Interest Watch (PIW), a nonprofit watchdog group, led to a report disclosing that Greenpeace uses its Greenpeace Fund, a tax-exempt entity debarred from engaging in political advocacy and lobbying by the IRS tax code, to illegally direct funds to Greenpeace Inc., a tax-exempt organization permitted to engage in lobbying and advocacy but not to accept tax-deductible funds. PIW calculated that in 2000, $4.25 million was provided by the Greenpeace Fund in this way.

Greenpeace is heavily funded by many foundations, among which are the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Bauman Family Foundation, the Blue Moon Fund, the Columbia Foundation, the Compton Foundation, the Minneapolis Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, Ted Turner‘s Turner Foundation. The organization has also drawn support from numerous celebrities, including singers Sting, Tom Jones, and Elton John, who have sponsored its “save the rainforest” campaigns. In 2004, Greenpeace received $15,844,752 in grants, and held net assets of $1,893,548. That same year, the Greenpeace Fund received grants totaling $6,866,534 and held net assets of $7,532,018.

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