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The DOJ invites Greenpeace to take a long walk off a short plank.
May 13, 2004 5:38 PM   Subscribe

Shiver me illegally-harvested timbers! Why dust off a law used only twice, most recently 114 years ago? Because you have a grand jury and you can. The alleged sailor-mongerers have issued a statement on their website.
posted by trondant (48 comments total)

 
wait...so green peace is really a cover for an international brothel?!

it all makes sense now.
posted by Stynxno at 6:11 PM on May 13, 2004


Bush and Ashcroft are less fond of the 215-year-old Alien Tort Claims Act, which is used to prosecute human rights violators, including some friendly multinational corporations. Bush and Blair want the ATCA to be struck down.
posted by homunculus at 6:14 PM on May 13, 2004


I agree that it's bullshit and all, but Reuters sure slants its news.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:01 PM on May 13, 2004


How do you suppose they slant their news? I found it balanced out the facts quite well.
posted by futureproof at 7:05 PM on May 13, 2004


I found it balanced out the facts quite well.

Um... I'm not seeing much in the way of anything supporting the US government's side in that Reuters story... it practically reads like a Greenpeace press release.
posted by reklaw at 7:13 PM on May 13, 2004


Go on then, what is this "side" that's missing? A secret report showing how President Bush suffered such loss of face and damage to ego from their nasty poster that any sane person would agree it more than justifies the ol' blunderbuss of federal legislation be got down from the attic?
posted by bonaldi at 7:22 PM on May 13, 2004


The other side of the story.
posted by trondant at 7:26 PM on May 13, 2004


The striking point here is that there is no way anyone at Justice knew this law off the top of their head. They had to research this.

Let's look at that another way: in the midst of prosecuting and investigating terrorism, someone, or more likely a group of someones, were ordered to devote their resources to searching for a way to penalize a group of environmental activists. Even the press release from DOJ strains for legitimacy. They MANEUVERED NEAR THE VESSEL! While FLYING FLAGS! With... gasp... an INTENT TO DRAPE! Christ. Well that fucking takes priority over al-Qaeda, doesn't it.

Somewhere in Justice a couple of suits are high-fiving each other with beers in their hands, belching "O'Doyle rules!" over their wicked burn on those hippies.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:15 PM on May 13, 2004


in the midst of prosecuting and investigating terrorism, someone, or more likely a group of someones, were ordered to devote their resources to searching for a way to penalize a group of environmental activists.

It's less of a stretch than going after porn.
posted by homunculus at 8:27 PM on May 13, 2004


I was struck by the fact that - apparently - the Bush Administration doesn't have any interest whatsoever in prosecuting the illegal Brazilian mahogany shipments coming into Miami.

The law, as with moral certitude (Biblical or otherwise), has seemingly become - under GW Bush - infinitely flexible : like toffee left out on a hot sidewalk.

The "law" can now do nearly anything that GW Bush wants it to do.

How pleasant.
posted by troutfishing at 9:53 PM on May 13, 2004


Uhhh, why go to such lengths when greepeace is doing business as usual, is trespassing, vandalizing, and pirating?

Political expression stops being political expression when you force your way onto private property. That's when it becomes terrorism. Am I expected to let PeTA stamp out my backyard BBQ, too? If that happened (often, as is the case for Greenpeace), I'd hope there'd be a lot of jail time served.

Greenpeace Amazon campaigner Paulo Adario said a mahogany tree could be bought in the Amazon for $30. Once turned into dining tables and chairs for sale in New York or London, that same tree could be worth as much as $120,000.

There's about $50 of steel in a Ferarri, too. So obviously it couldn't possibly be worth $250,000. Thanks for clearing that up Paulo. (Another quote to add to my file).

What a fucking horribly slanted piece of tripe that article is. Good lord. I've seen more informative information come from the mouths of 3 year olds with advanced encephalitis.

In short: GET A JOB.
posted by shepd at 11:31 PM on May 13, 2004


terrorism

That's it, I'm outta here. </homer>
posted by Space Coyote at 11:35 PM on May 13, 2004


Am I expected to let PeTA stamp out my backyard BBQ, too?

Why would PeTA care about your grilled veggies? And PETA (people eating tasty animals) won't care about your burgers.

If that happened (often, as is the case for Greenpeace), I'd hope there'd be a lot of jail time served.

1) Please provide links to where Greenpeace runs around stamping out backyard BBQs?
2) Many places have made trespassing a fine-able misdemeanor. As such, not something you'd get a lot of jail time for.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:34 AM on May 14, 2004


There's about $50 of steel in a Ferarri, too. So obviously it couldn't possibly be worth $250,000.

Um, OK. Does steel come from an endangered species? No. Oh, then perhaps the manufacture of Ferraris is illegal? No. Then what the fuck is the point of the stupid analogy here? Nevermind.
posted by freebird at 12:55 AM on May 14, 2004


"Am I expected to let PeTA stamp out my backyard BBQ, too?"

If you were frying up an endangered species (say, a Bald Eagle), then someone should stamp out your BBQ.
posted by spazzm at 1:52 AM on May 14, 2004


If its already on the grill, then stamping out the fire isn't going to make it any healthier. And something else would just end up dead to fill the hole it left.
posted by biffa at 2:14 AM on May 14, 2004


trondant - is there anything material there that's not in the story? The story seems one sided because, er, the facts are. It's like complaining a story about the RIAA suing a sick toddler is one sided because it doesn't give enough props to the RIAA.

It's almost as if people here want the story to have lots of nice reasons that this is a good thing just because they dislike Greenpeace or activists in general, rather than looking at it and realising that the USG is, once again, out of control.
posted by bonaldi at 3:00 AM on May 14, 2004


shepd:
Political expression stops being political expression when you force your way onto private property.

Mh well let's say I'm holding a sign and protesting pro or against the war or something else with some political connotation. Let's even say that I jumped a wall or fence to enter your property.

That's when it becomes terrorism

Oh dude I think you're misguided or just a little too brainwashed to understand : If I enter your property, start shouting like hell etc around -without- harming physically anybody or killing anybody then I'm a trespasser.
If I seriously damage or destroy your property then I'm a trespasser and a vandal.If I kill somebody, I'm a killer.

By your definition of terrorist = trespasser with a political agenda ...I could enter your home, pop out of a bush cry and frighten you (terror intent) because you're a political oppositor of me and by your standards I guess I should be treated like a terrorist.

Dude...GET A JOB at getting yourself a clue !
posted by elpapacito at 4:12 AM on May 14, 2004


bonaldi: I don't know. I went and got the DOJ link after the fact, but it would've been better if I'd included it in the post.

elpapacito: No, man. He's Mr. Lebowski, I'm the Dude.
posted by trondant at 8:27 AM on May 14, 2004


Ashcroft sez: "whats wrong with logging trees? they're ours for the logging!"
It's that enviro-protest terrorism that's the *real* crime.
posted by petebest at 8:36 AM on May 14, 2004


shepd:Greenpeace Amazon campaigner Paulo Adario said a mahogany tree could be bought in the Amazon for $30. Once turned into dining tables and chairs for sale in New York or London, that same tree could be worth as much as $120,000.

There's about $50 of steel in a Ferarri, too. So obviously it couldn't possibly be worth $250,000. Thanks for clearing that up Paulo. (Another quote to add to my file).


I think you missed the point shepd. The author was just showing why illegal mahogany is so lucrative. As he put it better than coke. I question the better than coke, but there seems to be a lot less chance of spending years in federal prison for smuggling wood than smuggling coke.

It's like arresting someone for trespassing because he was standing on the lawn of the local grow op when he called 911 and then prosecuting neighbourhood watch because he's a member.

PS: stop by your local wood monger and price out Mahogany. Even before you turn it into a chair it's worth US$40-50 a board foot (when you buy 1000 bd. ft. at once).

And that is plantation lumber; double or triple that for tight ring old growth.
posted by Mitheral at 8:47 AM on May 14, 2004


Now I am not big supporter of terrorism paranoia, but I can see why it is a good idea to slap down the habit of smuggling people onto a ship as it enters a harbor with more than a misdemeanor.

In the current climate it is a fairly bad idea to have small boats zipping along side other ships without permission - whether in the open or clandestinely.

Greenpeace has a habit of doing this sort of thing, and it is only by the sufferance of their victims they survived it this long. Hell, these people have at times approached military vessels and boarded them, counting on the fact that they won't be fired upon when by all rights they should have been blown out of the water.

There is no longer much justification to ignore a strange vessel approaching and putting unauthorized people onto a ship. The slack that Greenpeace used to count on is no longer viable.

I hope the figure that out before a US Navy vessel has to put big holes in a bunch of Greenpeace folks in a zodiac headed for the hull.
posted by soulhuntre at 10:30 AM on May 14, 2004


soulhuntre, dude, greenpeace ships have been fired upon before.
posted by danOstuporStar at 12:02 PM on May 14, 2004


shepd got a little excited there
posted by Satapher at 12:52 PM on May 14, 2004


>Um, OK. Does steel come from an endangered species?

Thousands of species die a year. Endangered is just a greenie buzzword to make us all feel bad for using a common, renewable, resource.

And yeah, there's only so much minable steel components in the earth, so, by the greenies definition, yup, she's endangered.

>If I enter your property, start shouting like hell etc around -without- harming physically anybody or killing anybody then I'm a trespasser.

The minute you vandalize my property with signs that are libeling me, or start slandering me on my property, I take it personally, for obvious reasons. Personal threats made on the property of a victim are clearly intended to incite terror in the victim. Hence, my use of the word "Terrorism".

If I busted onto the GreenPeace barge and put up signs "THESE PEOPLE ARE KILLERS - 'FIX' THEIR BOAT!" I'd expect to be shot. (Because, guess what, greenpeace got rid of all the paper maps and now uses electronics -- and we all know how many people die in Chinese death factories, don't we?)

>I could enter your home, pop out of a bush cry and frighten you (terror intent) because you're a political oppositor of me and by your standards I guess I should be treated like a terrorist.

Hell yes! Now you get it. My homestead, my home, my castle. If you aren't welcome there, you damn well better stay away. Oh, do I ever pine for the time when you could shoot invaders. There'd be a lot more bitching inside greenpeace headqarters, and a lot less done on their "enemies" private property -- that's how it should be. "TRESSPASSERS WILL BE SHOT". It just rolls off the tongue.
posted by shepd at 2:09 PM on May 14, 2004


in other news : cardiac arrest
posted by Satapher at 2:33 PM on May 14, 2004


You know, shepd, if you swap "trespassers" (or "tresspassers" if you like) in your quote for the phrase "human beings," it rolls off the tongue a lot less easily.

I know, I know. Don't Feed The Blood-Hungry Troll.
posted by logovisual at 6:24 PM on May 14, 2004


And people sympathize with the criminals because... ? oh hell, who cares, some people are just fucking dumb, no more need to explore the question.

I guess when you heard 'greenpeace bad!!!' enough times strange connections can be made in small minds.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:38 PM on May 14, 2004


"You know, shepd, if you swap "trespassers" (or "trespassers" if you like) in your quote for the phrase "human beings," it rolls off the tongue a lot less easily."

Thats because it doesn't make any sense then. Take the phrase "murderers should be incarcerated for the rest of their lives" and try the same trick.... "Human beings should be incarcerated for the rest of their lives"... see what I mean?

You know, if people invaded the Greenpeace headquarters and properties with the same blithe disregard Greenpeace shows they would be screaming bloody murder and persecution.

"greenpeace ships have been fired upon before."

That bombing isn't what I was speaking of. When you, say, zip at high speed in the direction of a Naval vessel every second you don't have a harpoon ASW sticking out of your forehead is a second you made your saving throw :)
posted by soulhuntre at 8:41 PM on May 14, 2004


Exactly Space Coyote, I refuse to sympathize with the criminals. Who is coming up on charges? Who performed the terrorism? Who likes to pretend like they're little pirates?

Greenpeace.

The other guys on that ship are getting away with a supposed crime BECAUSE greenpeace committed the most serious crime. They invaded a ship on the high seas. You know what the charge was for being a pirate back in the day?

Greenpeace should be happy they're getting this slap on the wrist.

>You know, shepd, if you swap "trespassers" (or "tresspassers" if you like) in your quote for the phrase "human beings," it rolls off the tongue a lot less easily.

Not really. Criminals are human beings too. They're also made of carbon.

"CARBON WILL BE SHOT".

Laughable reasoning, at best.

Now, all this being said, I have a quote for Greenpeace:

"Let him who is without sin cast the first stone".

Just because you have a worse criminal than you are at your hands doesn't make you a judge. Only the supreme court decides that. And maybe God. If you believe in Him. I doubt Greenpeace are God's missionaries. So that leaves the supreme court.
posted by shepd at 11:19 PM on May 14, 2004


The other guys on that ship are getting away with a supposed crime BECAUSE greenpeace committed the most serious crime. They invaded a ship on the high seas.

No, they did not. If they had,. that's certainly what they would have been charged with, not this ridiculous 'sailor mongering' charge that hasn't been used in a century. RTFA.

Also, your assertion that the thieves would have been charged had greenpeace not drawn attention to the crime is something that would require you to back up your statement.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:08 AM on May 15, 2004


No, they did not. If they had,. that's certainly what they would have been charged with, not this ridiculous 'sailor mongering' charge that hasn't been used in a century. RTFA.

Okay, it's simple. People are tired of Greenpeace thinking they can invade their homes and businesses at will. They consider that "bad", wether you agree or not isn't the issue.

So, this time, the DOJ is standing up to Greenpeace. They're telling them that enough is enough. Clearly the usual sentences given for the crimes of tresspassing and vandalism aren't enough to discourage Greenpeace from their brand of eco-terrorism. So, the DOJ has basically said "Fuck it" and are going after them with the most serious charge they can land.

That way, when they lose (and they probably will), they'll be able to pin some real life changing jail time on the Greenpeace punks and teach them a well deserved lesson.

Also, your assertion that the thieves would have been charged had greenpeace not drawn attention to the crime is something that would require you to back up your statement.

Case of coulda, woulda, shoulda. Just the same way that if a vigilante manages to hijack a car full of cocaine I would suggest the police would have found the guy anyways. Why?

Because you're supposed to trust that your police service can get the job done. If you can't trust the police, you're screwed.
posted by shepd at 11:34 AM on May 15, 2004


Endangered is just a greenie buzzword to make us all feel bad for using a common, renewable, resource.

shepd, I find it extremely difficult to sympathize with your point of view, and the undisguised virulence of your loathing for Greenpeace is not making your argument any stronger.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:20 PM on May 15, 2004


Then we're screwed.
posted by trondant at 3:02 PM on May 15, 2004


In America, is it still legitimate to commit an act which is against the law if the aim is to prevent a greater breach of law?
posted by biffa at 5:01 PM on May 15, 2004


>shepd, I find it extremely difficult to sympathize with your point of view, and the undisguised virulence of your loathing for Greenpeace is not making your argument any stronger.

Uhhh, wouldn't a virulent argument get progressively more popular?

I'm not looking for sympathy, I'm simply looking for logic. And there's no logic in breaking the law because someone else does. Two wrongs don't make a right. But, hey, for Greenpeace, I guess three Righties make a Lefty!

Every few minutes a species dies out. Do we weep for them? No. That's the way it was before humanity, and that's the way nature intends it. Anything else would be anti-nature, and, oddly enough, inherently anti-Greepeace.

>In America, is it still legitimate to commit an act which is against the law if the aim is to prevent a greater breach of law?

I discussed this at length with a teacher of a criminology class. Unless you are personally being threatened it is called "vigilatism" and postively disgusts most people, including the police and justice system. I can't believe you guys would rather see eco-terrorism than a few trees you don't own getting felled. Crazy!

Anyways, that'd be an excellent argument, though, if Greenpeace owned the forest the trees were cut from. Call me when they do (as the FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION they are, rather than a charity, they actually could). Otherwise, they burn, and they burn hard.

If we surbscribed by your notion, if I stole a car (not yours), it'd be A-OK for you to walk in to my shop and start stealing things. Because, hey, I'm a "criminal", so therefore I have no rights. (Big Hint: The only right a criminal loses is the right to freedom).

Think about that for a while and get back to me with some good questions.
posted by shepd at 5:48 PM on May 15, 2004


I'd just like to point out that the term "murderers" and the term "trespassers" are not exactly co-equivalent in most societies. If you'd like to start your own where that's the case, feel free to go right ahead, but your semantic rejoinder to my post falls flat.

I said what I did because I was deeply, deeply disturbed by the level of bloodlust I was witnessing in this thread. And I still am. People who walk across your property, IMHO, don't deserve to be instantly shot. Just as Greenpeace doesn't deserve to be vilified with the intensity that they have been here. Have they broken the law? Yep. Should they face up to that? Yep. Do they deserve the irrational hatred lobbed at them in this thread? Nope.

And for the record, "endangered" species are not renewable BY THE NATURE OF THEIR FUCKING CLASSIFICATION. In order for them to be "renewable," PEOPLE NEED TO STOP FUCKING KILLING THEM. That's the whole POINT of their being termed "endangered."
posted by logovisual at 6:48 PM on May 15, 2004


Shepd: out of curiosity, what is your opinion on crackhouse laws?
posted by Ptrin at 7:11 PM on May 15, 2004


Uhhh, wouldn't a virulent argument get progressively more popular?

No, you're thinking of "infectious". Dict.org lists "harsh or corrosive in tone" as one meaning for virulent, and that's about what I meant.

Every few minutes a species dies out. Do we weep for them? No. That's the way it was before humanity, and that's the way nature intends it. Anything else would be anti-nature, and, oddly enough, inherently anti-Greepeace.

That is superficially true, but the extinction rate is three or four orders of magnitude larger than it was before humans started hacking away at the global ecosystem, and the rate is still rising. Normal extinction rate is something like 10 to 100 species per year; right now, approximately 10,000 species per year are dying out.

In other words, the human impact on planet earth right now is comparable to the colossal, world-wrecking asteroid collision that killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. It took five to ten million years before the planet recovered after that impact, which is about five hundred times longer than all recorded history.

Is this "natural"? Can you see why someone might believe that stopping a crisis of this magnitude is more important than respecting some criminal logging organization's property rights?

I can't believe you guys would rather see eco-terrorism than a few trees you don't own getting felled. Crazy!

I'd rather see the legal system do its job. You tell me: should I hold my breath waiting, or should I support the people who are actually working to stop the destruction of the Amazon rainforest (among other things)?

as the FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION they are

Greenpeace is only "for-profit" because you don't qualify for non-profit tax status if you do political advocacy work.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:05 PM on May 15, 2004


I read an article about this (mahogany smuggling) just the other day. If it is true that large amounts of mahogany are slipped into the country on a fairly regular basis, we have more serious issues to deal with than the fact that some tree-huggers made the gubberment cranky. Considering that you can not slip huge amounts of wood into the country by say, shoving it up your ass or swallowing it in a balloon, there are only two possibilities.

The first is that the feds are aware of it and simply do not care and the second is that they are truly _that_ incompetent. What will result when someone decides to hide nuclear weapon components amongst the pieces of wood? Let in some wood since people need it for their dining rooms and aid terrorism as a bonus. Or if they really are too stupid to catch the wood coming in, well, fuck. It should be pretty damn easy to get just about anything in.

It just boggles the mind that ANYONE trying to sneak illegal material into the country in this curious time is not nailed to the fucking wall. Makes a person wonder if the government really cares about the threat of terrorism at all.
posted by bargle at 8:42 PM on May 15, 2004


Just as Greenpeace doesn't deserve to be vilified with the intensity that they have been here.

Scofflaws tend to be vilified. Just like the kid that keys your car each day and only goes to jail for a week, total, ever, eventually makes you want to throttle his throat. You can only ignore the law for so long before it bites you in the ass. Hard.

I'd rather see the legal system do its job. You tell me: should I hold my breath waiting, or should I support the people who are actually working to stop the destruction of the Amazon rainforest (among other things)?

We have help for people like Greenpeace. We make it easy for them. They can call a number. It's real easy. A lot of phones even have it on single button speed dial! It's 9-1-1. Push those digits and report crimes to someone who cares *AND* can fix the problem. (Literally). Don't become terrorists.

Is this "natural"? Can you see why someone might believe that stopping a crisis of this magnitude is more important than respecting some criminal logging organization's property rights?

I see. In other words, then, terrorism is ok if it's justified. Osama believes that everyone on earth will die if they don't convert to his religion. So therefore, blowing up a couple thousand of people is justified if he can save everyone else (assuming they convert, which is what his mind was telling him will happen, eventually).

Your line of thought is freaking me right out. You're fucking scaring me, man.

Greenpeace is only "for-profit" because you don't qualify for non-profit tax status if you do political advocacy work.

No, Greenpeace is "for profit" because, according to the Canadian government, they serve no public benefit. Read their lips. THEY SERVE NO PUBLIC BENEFIT.
Revenue Canada, the tax-collecting arm of the government, has refused to recognize the new Greenpeace Environmental Foundation as a charity, saying its activities have "no public benefit" and that lobbying to shut down industries could send people "into poverty."
Very occasionally, Revenue Canada actually does get something right.
posted by shepd at 12:56 AM on May 16, 2004


Your line of thought is freaking me right out. You're fucking scaring me, man.

That's fine; you've demonstrated that you're not being reasonable about this, so I'm no longer interested in what you think.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:15 AM on May 16, 2004


Now, for the last one:

Shepd: out of curiosity, what is your opinion on crackhouse laws?

Which ones?

If you're talking about laws that say you can't do drugs on your own property, they're clearly wrong. Same thing with laws that would take your property away from you because you sell drugs, or do drugs there. That being said, I could handle zoning laws taking care of such things, the same way they do now for liquor -- a neighbourhood is within its rights to vote out such sales (although, definately not voting away the right of the owner to own the property and do drugs on it if they should choose to).

That's mostly because those laws have increased drug strength, availability, and decreased quality and prices to the point that drugs are now a national underground mob-goverened deadly epedemic that traps people into forms of behaviour they can't get out of without jail time, much like booze during prohibition. Very few illicit drugs are any more addictive than other commonly available legal substances, such as nicotine, caffiene, or even alcohol (for less-vehement proof, you may wish to watch BBCs "Body Hits" on this topic). The drug that these houses are named after, cocaine, shows only a 19% addiction rate, whereas tobacco smoking shows a near 90% addiction rate.

Knowing the facts, which would *YOU* rather live beside? A "health" pharmacy selling tobacco, or someone selling cocaine? One of these two stores is forcing more unwilling users than the other to continue consumption of the deadly product. Which one? Therein lies your answer.

----

That's fine; you've demonstrated that you're not being reasonable about this, so I'm no longer interested in what you think.

Good. I guess we agree. You've demonstrated that you don't give a rats ass about humanity in general when saving the environment is involved -- that you'd rather let go of all law to save a tree, and therefore, still freak me right the hell out. And you would wonder why Greenpeace is officially described as useless in Canada...

*PLONK*
posted by shepd at 1:22 AM on May 16, 2004


It would probably be futile to point out that 'humanity in general' depends on the environment, so concern about the environment does not exclude concern about 'humanity in general' - and in many or most cases concern about 'humanity in general' is the primary driving force behind environmental activism.

Knucklehead.
posted by cell at 1:50 AM on May 16, 2004


Shepd: Ok. I was just trying to gauge the extent of your libertarianism. It helps to have more than one datapoint to judge from.

Now, I'm going to hazard a guess and say that, for you, this isn't really about the law -- it is about the fundamental right of an individual or organization to do as it pleases as long as it minds its own business. You oppose Greenpeace because they are essentially dedicated to butting into other people's business. I can understand that, even if I don't entirely agree with it (and being involved with EPA, I have a somewhat substantial loathing for organizations that that give the environmental cause a bad name).

However, we do have something of a difficult situation here. The mahogeny smugglers are brazenly violating the law, and the police/customs/proper authorities refuse to intervene. What should Greenpeace do? Is their attempt to essentially perform, essentially, a "citizen's arrest" really as evil as you say it is?
posted by Ptrin at 9:06 AM on May 16, 2004


Cell, this "knucklehead" noticed someone who puts the environment before humanity. The two items are not mutually exclusive, yes, but when the nitty comes down to the gritty, you have to decide which is more important to you.

I think the decision he made was clear.

What should Greenpeace do?

Rally outside the customs office. Make it difficult for the customs officers to complete their work. If they refuse to enforce the law, they're the ones who need to be bugged. Plus, customs is on public property, so, in general, a protest held there isn't going to be considered trespassing.

If customs won't enforce the law, though, then one should question why they won't. A lot of laws that aren't enforced are pointless laws, right? I mean, a majority of readers of this story are saying the rarely-enforced law greenpeace are being beaten down with is anachronistic and needs to be repealed.

Of course, I'm willing to follow the money. Perhaps someone can show me how customs gets backhander payments for ignoring this law. That sort of detail, while interesting, just isn't available to me. Sorry. Otherwise I can think of only two situations:

- Customs are full of lazy people.
- Customs doesn't consider this to be a serious problem.

Hey, ptrin, you'd be surprised to the extent of my libertarianism. Get me going on a good argument on #mefi, one day. I do recall once explaining why I believe things would be better if most streets were privately owned...
posted by shepd at 6:11 PM on May 16, 2004


>In America, is it still legitimate to commit an act which is against the law if the aim is to prevent a greater breach of law?

I discussed this at length with a teacher of a criminology class. Unless you are personally being threatened it is called "vigilatism" and postively disgusts most people, including the police and justice system. I can't believe you guys would rather see eco-terrorism than a few trees you don't own getting felled. Crazy!
If we surbscribed by your notion, if I stole a car (not yours), it'd be A-OK for you to walk in to my shop and start stealing things. Because, hey, I'm a "criminal", so therefore I have no rights. (Big Hint: The only right a criminal loses is the right to freedom).

How do you figure that? I specifically asked about committing one crie to prevent another, how would stealing from one place prevent stealing from another? I'm specifically asking about the possibility of whether it is legitimate to commit a crime that prevents a worse crime, your example clearly relates to unrelated crimes. Their have a been a couple of cases concerning this in the UK in recent years. In one, demonstrators smashed some hawk jets which were about to be sent to Indonesia, the demonstrators alleged that the jets would be used for human rights abuses, the courts vindicated their viewpoint and they weren't found to be guilty.
posted by biffa at 2:05 AM on May 17, 2004


Update: Greenpeace acquitted.
posted by danOstuporStar at 11:45 AM on May 20, 2004


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