Australian Financial Review Headline: Greenpeace pleads the first in US racketeering case

"The unprecedented US racketeering action bought against Greenpeace Inc by an aggressively aggrieved Canadian timber company passed another milestone recently with the environmental defender arguing that it should not matter whether the claims presented in its anti-logging campaign were facts.

The strike-out motion filed by Greenpeace at the end of January seeks US First Amendment free speech protection and is constructed around the thesis that this failure of consensus is almost inevitable given Resolute chops trees down in old forests and Greenpeace believes that it should not.

So when Greenpeace advertises Resolute as the "Forest Destroyer", well, that is just the sort of "heated rhetoric" that is the "coin of the realm" in this sort of conflict. That Resolute has planted more than one billion trees to mitigate its enduring cull of mature trees is a truth inconvenient to what is really just a marketing pitch for the hearts and minds of Canadians.

"First, Greenpeace's publications are well known for advancing the organisation's advocacy mission and opinions, not hard news," the Greenpeace lawyers stated. "Second, the challenged publications were part of a heated public debate, here over RFP's [Resolute's] logging practices, where criticism and heated rhetoric are the coin of the realm."

Citing case law, the Greenpeace pitch includes the claim that "speakers who engage in protected expression on matters of public controversy – like Greenpeace here – often use forceful language to make their point".

"They do not hew to strict literalisms or scientific precision, but regularly use words 'in a loose, figurative sense' to express 'strong disagreement'.

The dismissal application goes on to note that the claim that Resolute had "destroyed forests" should be received as "describing figurative, rather than literal, destruction."

Matthew Stevens, Australian Financial Review (3/7/17)