Bush vs. Greenpeace Overview

Feature story - May 10, 2004
Learn how the case against against us and the events surroundng it unfolded.

We are grateful to everyone who stood with us -- from former vice president Al Gore and NAACP Chair 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 our water and to build a green and peaceful future.

Updates from the courtroom can be found on our weblog.

View a wrap-up from CBS news in Miami.

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

December 12, 2003: A hearing is held in the Federal District Court in Miami on the motions that Greenpeace has filed.

At the close of the hearing, it is determined that the case will be tried in May 2004 (unless Greenpeace's motion to dismiss is granted).

November 14, 2003: Greenpeace is rearraigned on a revised indictment at the federal courthouse in Miami. The original indictment included the claim that Greenpeace was wrong about the presence of contraband mahogany on the ship that was boarded. In a revealing move, the Justice Department revised its indictment of Greenpeace, deleting the claim that Greenpeace was wrong about the illegal cargo.

Speaking out for Greenpeace

Senator Patrick Leahy: In a February 18th letter, Senator Leahy asks Attorney General John Ashcroft to personally review the case against Greenpeace and respond to concerns.

NRDC, ACLU, People for the American Way: Several organizations file Amicus briefs in support of Greenpeace.

NAACP, American Friends Service Ctte, People for the American Way: At a press conference on December 11, 2003, leaders from several organizations join Greenpeace in support of the First Amendment right to dissent.

TomPaine.com: On December 3, 2003 Public interest journal TomPaine.com runs a full page ad in The New York Times headlined "Dissent Under Attack."

Read related articles: Dissent Under Attack, Civil Disobedience On Trial, Why Target Greenpeace?

Al Gore: During a November 9, 2003 speech given to members of moveon.org and the American Constitution Society, former Vice President Al Gore says,

The Bush Justice Department has recently begun a highly disturbing criminal prosecution of the environmental group Greenpeace because of a non-violent direct action protest against what Greenpeace claimed was the illegal importation of endangered mahogany from the Amazon. Independent legal experts and historians have said that the prosecution -- under an obscure and bizarre 1872 law against "sailor-mongering" -- appears to be aimed at inhibiting Greenpeace's First Amendment activities. And at the same time they are breaking new ground by prosecuting Greenpeace, the Bush Administration announced just a few days ago that it is dropping the investigations of 50 power plants for violating the Clean Air Act -- a move that Sen. Chuck Schumer said, "basically announced to the power industry that it can now pollute with impunity."

Read the entire speech at www.moveon.org.

The Miami Herald: On October 30, 2003, The Miami Herald calls on the Justice Department to end prosecution of Greenpeace. Read the full article: Greenpeace prosecuted under antiquated law

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