Greenpeace acquitted

Judge throws out Bush administration case against environmental group

Press release - 19 May, 2004
This afternoon the Bush Administration's case against Greenpeace USA was thrown out of court. Judge Adalberto Jordan acquitted the environmental group after accepting Greenpeace's claim that the US government provided insufficient evidence to the court.

A Greenpeace activist (Tom McCabe) protests against the APL Jade to highlight its cargo of illegal Brazilian mahogany outside the city of Miami.

Speaking from the Miami Federal Courthouse, Greenpeace USA Executive Director John Passacantando said, "America's tradition of free speech won a victory today, but our liberties are still not safe, the Bush administration and its allies seem bent on stifling our tradition of civil protest, a tradition that has made our country stronger throughout our history.

"Greenpeace is grateful to everyone who stood with us, from Al Gore and Julian Bond to the citizens of Miami and people around the world. We will never give up the struggle to protect our forests, our air and oceans, and to build a green and peaceful future."

In February 2002, Greenpeace volunteers carried out a peaceful protest against a cargo ship which was transporting illegal mahogany from the Brazilian Amazon.

Greenpeace was being prosecuted under an obscure 1872 law against "sailormongering". The bizarre law was originally designed to discourage owners of inns and brothels from boarding ships, as they are about to enter port, in order to lure the sailors into their establishments. It has only been used twice in its' history.

A record of over 100,000 people world wide sent protest messages to George Bush and John Ashcroft the US Attorney General demanding that the case be dropped.