In what might feel like a cosmic karma turn of events, Green bully Greenpeace, the patriarch of environmental NGOs (ENGOs), was slapped with a civil fraud lawsuit, the same kind of bullying tactic it uses to threaten hundreds, if not thousands, of corporations into “agreeing” to its abysmal demands and “donating” millions of monies in “aid”.
Existential threat for Greenpeace
Early this month, Resolute Forest Products, a Canadian pulp and paper manufacturer, filed a lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act in a federal district court in Georgia, U.S., alleging a pattern of defamatory and fraudulent behaviour by Greenpeace and allied organizations. The Green action group and its affiliates are accused of committing eleven state and federal felonies.
According to the complaint, Greenpeace and its affiliates are a RICO “enterprise” that have waged a deliberately campaign against Resolute Canada, misrepresenting the company’s practices and environmental record in order to raise funds and promote Greenpeace’s environmentalist agenda.
The monster complaint, unparalleled in the history of the war between corporations and ENGOs, elucidates just exactly what tyrannical and extremist ENGOs like Greenpeace do. “…disinformation campaign that could be used to fraudulently induce millions of dollars in donations from individual donors and foundations that could be used to fund the salaries of the enterprise members and its leaders, perpetuate more fraudulent fundraising…”
Greenpeace has developed a playbook that is readily recognizable. It identifies or manufactures a hot-button environmental issue; disseminates sensational, alarmist, and false claims about impending calamity related to that issue; targets a high-profile company to vilify for the impending calamity, including by staging fake videos, photographs, and other evidence (such as staging animal slaughters by Greenpeace members impersonating others, and misrepresenting ordinary trees that have fallen as “ancient trees” harvested by its targets or photos and videos of one location or event passed off as another); bombards supporters with urgent requests to “DONATE NOW”; and directs extortive demands, tortious interference, and other illegal conduct at its targets and their customers.”
In December 2015, Greenpeace urged the U.S. government to investigate oil companies and organizations that dispute the risks of climate change under the RICO Act. Today, Resolute, the leader in the forest products industry and the largest producer of newsprint in the world, stands alone, akin to its name, in an unwavering show of courage against Greenpeace et al.
Displaying the rare mettle to stand up to the archetypal extremist and militant campaign of misinformation and shaming designed to shut it down, Resolute Forest Products has counter punched Greenpeace by taking a leaf out of its very own militant rulebook.
Across the seven seas, two years before Resolute decided to stand up and act, the Indian government had taken to task Greenpeace and others of the militant ENGO family, by declaring them enemies of the state and freezing their foreign donor aid.
In 2014, India’s Intelligence Bureau said that foreign-funded NGOs are actively stalling India’s development and causing a 2-3 per cent loss of GDP. This represents a staggering approximately 62 billion USD.
Ultimately, India declared Greenpeace and some of its funders as a threat to national economic security and revoked their operating permits for meddling in national affairs. Why would the world’s largest democracy come to that conclusion?
Greenpeace impact on national economics
The primary reason is economics. The loss of 62 billion USD annually is a colossal loss. A recent independent study confirmed the assumptions made by the Indian government. The secondary reason is national sovereignty and interference. Whereas India is a state, we forget that despite the claims, transnational groups like Greenpeace, the Rainforest Action Network and Friends of the Earth are private enterprises who display commercial features. Their budgets equal the GDP of small countries of the size of Somalia.
Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the U.S. Rainforest Action Network, FERN, Forest Peoples Programme and The Forest Trust, are foreign, profit-oriented entities and do not qualify as civil society groups.
In the context of legislation, these actors should not be eligible for the privileges and protections of any state. As Resolute puts it, “Maximizing donations, not saving the environment, is Greenpeace’s true objective.”
The prize, of course, is political change.