“This is the most significant development in the four-plus years of this saga,” Resolute vice-president Seth Kursman told The Canadian Press. “Greenpeace has admitted that they were lying about our forestry practices. Their campaign has been peddling falsehoods.”
In its fight to stop the company’s lawsuit in Georgia, Greenpeace argues in a recent court filing that its criticism of Resolute’s logging practices in Canada’s boreal forests should be viewed through the prism of free speech rather than taken literally.
“Speakers who engage in protected expression on matters of public controversy _ like Greenpeace here _ often use forceful language to make their point,” Greenpeace states.
“They do not hew to strict literalisms or scientific precision, but regularly use words ‘in a loose, figurative sense’ to express ‘strong disagreement’ … and attack their intellectual opponents through ‘rhetorical hyperbole’.”
The company, which is also suing Greenpeace for $7 million for defamation in Ontario, filed its Georgia lawsuit under racketeering laws enacted to deal with organized crime that allow for triple damages. Among other things, Resolute alleges Greenpeace is a “global fraud” whose campaigns are based on “sensational misinformation” aimed at getting people to donate money for its own benefit.
Kursman called Greenpeace’s tactics part of a “cycle of abuse” that relies on a lack of scientific grounding while making claims as a way to solicit donations.
“Greenpeace has drifted away from legitimate environmental work to schemes for generating donations,” Kursman said in an email. “Real people lost their jobs, communities have suffered, real families have experienced hardship … a stark reminder of the damage that this ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ has caused.”
Colin Perkel, CBC News (3/6/17)