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Ashcroft goes after Greenpeace

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  • Ashcroft goes after Greenpeace

    Good work Ashcroft. Sailor-mongering is one of the biggest threats to our national security!

    Activists' case goes to trial by U.S. jury


    South Florida Sun-Sentinel

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - (KRT) - A federal judge in Miami on Thursday refused to dismiss charges against the environmental group Greenpeace but ruled a jury should decide the unique case that could provide a legal test of the limits of political dissent.

    The federal government has invoked an obscure 1872 "sailor-mongering" law to bring charges against the public interest group. Greenpeace maintains it was targeted for prosecution because it has been critical of the Bush administration's environmental policies.

    It is the first time a public interest organization has faced criminal charges over the protest activities of its members, according to court briefs. The trial, set to begin May 17, will be closely watched.

    Federal prosecutors argued that Greenpeace had no right to a jury trial because it was charged with two minor offenses, but U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan ruled that a jury should decide the case.

    "I cannot see anything wrong with having members of the community decide whether the government can prove the charges against Greenpeace," Jordan wrote in a 16-page opinion.

    "This case is, to put it mildly, unusual, and would benefit from a jury's collective decision-making," the judge explained.

    He added that it involves "a statute which ... has been gathering dust for over a century" as well as "a rare and maybe unprecedented prosecution of an advocacy organization for conduct having to do with the exposition of the organization's message."

    Jordan also pointed out that prosecuting Greenpeace "may signal a change" in Justice Department policy. As recently as 1998, the Justice Department is on record saying it avoids "going after" advocacy groups.

    The judge left open the possibility that Greenpeace may be able to present a defense that justifies its actions. He also indicated Greenpeace's argument that the 1872 law was too vague "looks like a winner."

    On the issue of vagueness, Jordan wrote, "It is not a good sign when the government resorts to defining a phrase by repeating the phrase itself."

    A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami declined comment.

    But Greenpeace and its lawyers said they are encouraged.

    "The judge recognized that the statute may be invalid," said Miami lawyer Jane Moscowitz. "We look forward to our day in court."

    The charges arise from Greenpeace's April 12, 2002, boarding of a cargo ship several miles off the Port of Miami. The ship was thought to be carrying 70 tons of illegally logged Brazilian mahogany.

    Greenpeace members were arrested as they attempted to unfurl a banner with the message "President Bush, Stop Illegal Logging."

    Six of them pleaded no contest to "sailor-mongering" and paid fines ranging from $100 to $500.

    In July of last year, a federal grand jury indicted Greenpeace itself, accusing the organization of promoting the unauthorized boarding of a ship under the sailor mongering statute.

    The law was enacted to keep brothel employees from jumping aboard ships to lure sailors to port with offers of liquor and prostitutes. It has been used just twice - in New York in the 1870s and in Oregon in the 1890s. Even then, the courts found it awkward and archaic.

    If convicted, Greenpeace could be fined $10,000 and placed on five years' probation, which the group says would chill its activism. By being required to report to a federal probation officer, Greenpeace says it would face unprecedented government scrutiny of its tactics and membership rolls.
    2005 Mandatory Loyalty Oath: I love America, our troops, baseball, Moms, and certain pies. I want no harm to come to any of those institutions, nor do I take any glee in their demise.

  • #2
    GOD I am glad Ashcroft finds this stuff and file sharing so much more important than terrorism.
    Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.


    • #3
      ALmost makes me wish i hadn't voted for the dead guy. O'l john is making more trouble as AG than he would have as senator

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      • #4
        A very good reason not to vote for GW this time around.. Jhanke you are quite correct. We would be better off with him as a Senator..
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        • #5
          Originally posted by jhanke@Apr 24 2004, 06:54 AM
          ALmost makes me wish i hadn't voted for the dead guy. O'l john is making more trouble as AG than he would have as senator
          I cannot believe anyone would admit to voting for a dead guy.

          What a hoot.

          Let's revisit the chronology:

          1. The Silly Left rolled out the Silly Widow before the dead guy was even buried - talk about being obsessed with politics.

          2. The Silly Widow, rather than mourning with dignity and caring for her surviving kids/grandkids, allows the Silly Left to use her and her husband's death and funeral for political opportunism. Wow!

          3. Then the great irony - Bob "I would STILL win the class geek award" Holden wins the governor's seat - and the deadguy/shamelesswidow wins the Senate seat. (Thanks to informed citizens like jhanke.)

          4. The president-elect had Ashcroft at the top of his list for Attorney General, but would have never chosen him if Ashcroft had won the 2000 Senate race because a Dem governor would have named his Missouri replacement for two years (and the Senate majority was in the balance).

          5. So the dead guy's election gave the country John Ashcroft - U.S. Attorney General.

          Talk about irony. The Silly Left hated Ashcroft so much that they exploited a tragedy and its widow (it was neither the first time, nor the last, by the way, that the Silly Left would stump on a casket). Their strategy works perfectly, and the hated one becomes (arguably) the second most powerful man in the country.

          By the way, I also have some inside information on a few things. For instance, I know that Mr. Ashcroft was unbelievably courteous and helpful to Mrs. Carnahan during both the lame-duck session of Congress and during her first few weeks as Senator. A true gentleman (politics aside, if you please).

          Then she turned around and acted with shame and treated him with contempt during the AG hearings.

          So the Silly Widow agrees with the Silly Left: Politics trumps honor.

          A hoot.


          • #6
            A disgrace is what it was.

            We're well rid of that broad.
            And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

            -The Artist formerly known as King in KC


            • #7
              Originally posted by Damtoft@Apr 24 2004, 02:06 PM
              A disgrace is what it was.

              We're well rid of that broad.
              Yes, JD. A disgrace in too many ways to count.


              • #8
                3. Then the great irony - Bob "I would STILL win the class geek award" Holden wins the governor's seat - and the deadguy/shamelesswidow wins the Senate seat. (Thanks to informed citizens like jhanke.)

                I attribute the democratic win to some shady voting - I also think the republicans backed off of challenging this because of the supposed Bush president - Gore back down trade off - which affected a number of states.

                Back to the point at hand - from what I read - if this is the best the AG of the U S can come up with Greenpeace should run to the courthouse - they will win in a new record time.
                Turning the other cheek is better than burying the other body.

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