The Bush administration's attempt to use an obsolete "sailormongering" law to prosecute Greenpeace failed when the judge dismissed the charges in the midst of the trial. Greenpeace USA was under threat of being declared a criminal organization.

In April 2002, six Greenpeace activists took action to save ourforests. After two of them boarded a commercial ship which was bringingillegal mahogany into the port of Miami, Florida, they pleaded guilty,were fined and sentenced to "time served" - the weekend they all spentin jail. The judicial process had run its course.

Or so we thought...

Fifteen months later Greenpeace USA headquarters in Washington wasserved notice that the U.S. Attorney General's office would beprosecuting the entire organization for the action - the first time inhistory that the U.S. Government has prosecuted an advocacy group for afree-speech related activity.

We were being prosecuted under an obscure 1872 law against"sailormongering." The bizarre law was originally designed todiscourage owners of inns and brothels from boarding ships, as they areabout to enter port, in order to lure the sailors into theirestablishments. It has only been used twice in its history.

Ultimately, the Bush administration's case against us was thrown outof court. Judge Adalberto Jordan acquitted us after accepting our claimthat the U.S. government provided insufficient evidence to the court.

Speaking from the Miami Federal Courthouse, Executive Director JohnPassacantando said, "America's tradition of free speech won a victorytoday, but our liberties are still not safe, the Bush administrationand its allies seem bent on stifling our tradition of civil protest, atradition that has made our country stronger throughout our history.

View a wrap-up from CBS news in Miami.

View reactions surrounding the trial from activists and supporters in Miami in this streaming video

The latest updates

 

John Passacantando to step down as executive director of Greenpeace USA

Feature story | October 29, 2008 at 19:00

Greenpeace USA’s executive director, John Passacantando, has announced that he will step down at the end of 2008, capping an eight-year tenure that saw the organization weather some of its most difficult trials and achieve some of its greatest...

G8 - Environment Nil!

Feature story | July 9, 2008 at 18:00

When you're in the business of saving the future - and you give yourself a specific deadline, such as 2050 - you need to make sure that every single day between then and now counts. Unfortunately, the G8 Summit was a waste of three whole days.

The Department of Interior continues to drag

Image | March 9, 2008 at 19:00

The Department of Interior continues to drag their feet on protecting polar bears as they move full steam ahead on plans to drill for oil in prime polar bear habitat.

In September

Image | March 9, 2008 at 19:00

In September, the U.S. Geological Survey predicted that two-thirds of the world's polar bear population would likely be extinct by 2050, including all polar bears within the United States.

The Department of Interior continues to stall

Image | March 9, 2008 at 19:00

The Department of Interior continues to stall on listing the polar bear as an endangered species.

Group of activists protesting President Bush's

Image | September 28, 2007 at 17:13

Group of activists protesting President Bush's Big Emitters meeting.

Activist with banner at global warming protest

Image | September 28, 2007 at 17:10

Activist with banner at global warming protest.

Global warming protesters clash with police

Image | September 28, 2007 at 17:08

Global warming protesters clash with police at the U.S. State department.

Activists marching up to the U

Image | September 28, 2007 at 17:06

Activists marching up to the U.S. State Department.

Group of activists protesting President Bush's

Image | September 27, 2007 at 13:30

Group of activists protesting President Bush's lack of leadership on global warming.

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