All too often, corporations, concerned about the potential damage to their bottom lines from any “controversy,” kowtow to media-savvy radical environmentalists. Thus the lawsuit brought three years ago by Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products against Greenpeace for “defamation, malicious falsehood and intentional interference with economic relations” represented a rare display of business backbone.
Greenpeace is still trying desperately to avoid its day in Canadian court, but now Resolute, under its arrow-straight CEO Richard Garneau, has upped the ante. On Tuesday, the company launched another suit — against Greenpeace and STAND (the environmental NGO formerly known as ForestEthics) — under U.S. anti-racketeering laws.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) was introduced early last century, with both criminal and civil provisions, to deal with the mob; that is, a loose organization, or “enterprise,” with a pattern of activity and common nefarious purposes, such as extortion. That is exactly what Resolute is alleging of Greenpeace.
Greenpeace meanwhile is hardly in a position to complain about any misuse of RICO since it recently recommended that oil giant ExxonMobil be charged with racketeering for “sowing doubt” about climate change.
Resolute employs some 8,000 people worldwide, and is the largest newsprint producer in the world. Its suit outlines in often devastating detail the alleged campaign by the “Greenpeace Enterprise” to destroy Resolute’s business — and raise funds — by spreading misinformation and harassing and threatening Resolute’s customers.
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