We have had reason to criticize many lawsuits, so it’s welcome when a major lawsuit appears to be pursuing valid goals whose accomplishment would benefit the public.
Energy Transfer Partners, which installed the Dakota Access Pipeline, is suing Greenpeace International, Earth First! and related organizations for their role in fomenting violence at pipeline protests. The federal lawsuit argues the activist groups incited, funded and facilitated crimes and acts of terrorism as part of the pipeline protest, acts that violated federal and state racketeering statutes.
Greenpeace and similar environmental groups routinely use harassment suits to hamstring their opponents, so there’s an element of “turnabout is fair play” to the Energy Transfer Partners lawsuit. But it also raises serious issues, particularly the need to combat acts of illegal violence committed under the guise of “protest.”
Energy Transfer Partners’ lawsuit says Earth First! provided $500,000 “to a core group of violent eco-terrorist infiltrators, who then formed what would be known as Red Warrior Camp.” Those individuals “operated as a rogue group at the protest site,” refusing “to work collaboratively” with other protesters.
Energy Transfer Partners says Greenpeace organized donation drives to fund, feed and house Red Warrior Camp militants. The lawsuit also notes, “Red Warrior Camp advertised their violent confrontations to secure additional funding, and used other illegal means, including selling drugs bought with donated money to other protesters at the camps to finance their operations and line their own pockets.”
The lawsuit documents numerous illegal acts. For example, on Aug. 12 of last year, roughly 350 members of Red Warrior “entered onto Dakota Access property, again without permission” and issued threats deemed serious enough that company personnel had to be evacuated under police escort. Nonetheless, the so-called protesters still “swarmed departing company vehicles and threw rocks and bottles at them.”
On Sept. 3, 2016, the lawsuit states, “Protesters threatened security personnel with knives, hit them with fence posts and flagpoles, and otherwise physically attacked private security personnel retained by Energy Transfer, resulting in multiple security guards and dogs being hospitalized.”
Energy Transfer Partners argues the groups it is suing “knowingly funded, controlled, directed, and incited acts of terrorism in violation of the U.S. Patriot Act, including attempted and actual destruction of an energy facility and arson on government property and aimed at interstate commerce.”
“These acts of physical sabotage of the pipeline were serious terrorist threats that — had oil been flowing in the pipeline when the attacks were perpetrated — would have caused the pipeline to explode, endangering human lives and resulting in environmental disaster,” the lawsuit states.
Even the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, a pipeline opponent, “sought to evict Red Warrior Camp” due to its activities, the lawsuit notes.
Violent “protests” on the political left, which have included numerous physical assaults, have increased notably in recent years. If Energy Transfer Partners succeeds in holding the perpetrators of such illegal activity to account, it will be a victory for all Americans. Ruffians shouldn’t be allowed to stifle the constitutional freedoms of peaceful citizens.
Source : News Ok