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View Diary: How Shell is trying to send a chill through activist groups across the country (175 comments)

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  •  Disobeying a court order can be punished (6+ / 0-)

    by contempt.  It's a stronger punishment than just waiting for them to break the law and then pursuing criminal/civil action against them.  

    •  To clarify...without an injunction, protestors (12+ / 0-)

      can go ahead and board the ships/destroy property/whatever and then try to defend in court (either criminal or civil).  They can try and defend on the merits (we didn't do it/it wasn't illegal if we did) or try and defend as a matter of law (the First Amendment protects boarding Shell's ships forcibly).  

      The same is not true of disobeying an injunction.  Disobeying a court order can be punished by contempt, even if enjoined conduct, upon closer review, was actually lawful.  You can't be punished for the conduct itself, but you can be punished for disobeying the injunction.  The enjoined party can, of course, appeal the issuance of the injunction.  

      The thought behind an injunction is that, for whatever reason, you're likely to suffer some harm that cannot be redressed in the typical way.  Say my neighbor keeps trying to say a part of my property really belongs to him - he's saying the dividing line is 20 feet over.  If I have a 200 year old redwood in that disputed zone, I can get an injunction to keep him from chopping it down.  The idea is if he goes ahead and destroys the tree, that can't be undone - there's no way I'm getting my tree back and it's difficult to really compensate me for my injury.  He can go ahead and try and show that it's really HIS property, but if he cuts down the tree in the meantime, he can be held in contempt, even if at the end of the day it turns out the tree really was on his property.  

      •  Thanks for the longer explanation (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade, Words In Action

        In practical terms this means more jail time or a larger fine as well as a chance of getting arrested before anything even happens.

        If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

        by AoT on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 10:47:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well...not quite. It does mean more jail time, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johnny wurster, ban nock, VClib

          potentially.  It doesn't mean getting arrested before anything happens...I'm not sure what you mean by that?

          •  Well, they have a stay away order and (4+ / 0-)

            if they get to close they can be arrested, no?

            From the ruling

            The panel affirmed the district court’s preliminary
            injunction, which prohibited Greenpeace USA from coming
            within a specified distance of vessels
            Unless I'm misreading it that means that they are barred from getting too close to the vessel and face arrest if they do. So it's more than barring them from various illegal acts, it makes it an arrestable offence to get close to the ship, that's the equivalent of making it illegal for a specific group to come near a place they want to protest. So similar reasoning could be used to preempt planned civil disobedience. This has already in the courts in the case of civil disobedience against Keystone XL. I won't be surprised if this ruling, if it stands, is used as precedent in that case.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 11:01:40 AM PDT

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            •  Ok, I understand what you mean. They can be (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT, VClib, burlydee, samddobermann

              arrested for violating the injunction, even if they haven't actually boarded the ship yet or whatever.  

            •  No one gets arrested for violating an injunction (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              samddobermann, CalGal47

              It's a civil, not a criminal matter.

              If Shell thinks GP USA is in violation of the order, it's got to go back to Court on a Motion to Show Cause, which gives GP the opportunity to come in and explain why they're not in violation.  The judge then rules on the motion; if Shell "wins," then GP would be held in contempt.  Contempt could include incarceration, but that's incredibly rare.  And it would happen in the courtroom; no one is ever going to go out and arrest protesters on the scene using an injunction as the authority to so do.  That's not reality.

              Note also that GP, which is a corporate entity, is the party that's enjoined.  What the Shell lawyers will do if they're smart is find the actual individuals who they think are likely to engage in the enjoined activities and give them actual notice of the injunction.  They need to do this to bind those folks -- the direct action protesters -- to the terms of the injunction.  They'll pass that Court order out like candy at Halloween, and you can bet that the Order is posted all over their docks and other facilities where they're operating that drilling project from.

              The reason you're seeing this tactic here and in the KXL operation is because it's incredibly effective.  Getting some protester cited for trespass is a pain in the neck and has proven ineffective.  There are plenty of folks willing to get and fight tickets and misdemeanor offenses.  But getting cross-wise with a Federal judge is serious business.  Breakign a law is one thing; ignoring a Court order is a whole 'nother kettle of fish.  

              "There is nothing impossible to him who will try." -Alexander the Great

              by The Octopus on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 12:13:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  That makes the injunction even more nonsensical. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Words In Action

        The situation in question has no parallel of your hypothetical 200-year redwood. Shell isn't doing anything they can't just try to do again. The oil will still be there.

        "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

        by nosleep4u on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 01:17:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The problem isn't that the oil is going (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coffeetalk, VClib, samddobermann

          to be destroyed/disappear, its the risk to people and property that comes along with GP attempting to forcibly board a ship in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.  No one is pretending the oil is going to dry up.  

          •  As if there are no risks in the activities (0+ / 0-)

            In which Shell is engaging, only the protesters? You see how sick and twisted that is? And yet it makes perfect sense in the non-sensical established culture of commerce and justice the plutocracy has created to protect itself from sane consideration or redress.

            Add the median effective tax rate, healthcare costs (20%?), education costs, and other things guaranteed in Denmark & Sweden, we pay MORE for LESS. Somebody's gotta pay the billionaires. They don't grow on trees. ☮ ♥ ☺

            by Words In Action on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 03:55:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  So it is double plus illegal now. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action

      Because it's a protest.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 10:44:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, because it's dangerous and illegal activity (4+ / 0-)

        Look, Shell would not have gotten the injunction if it was just inconvenient.  If you read the opinion, as in all injunction matters, Shell had to show not only that it was likely to succeed on the merits (that forcibly boarding its vessels and rigs in the open water was illegal and/or tortious) but ALSO that it would suffer irreparable harm -- that there would not be an adequate remedy if Shell waited, they did forcibly boarded the vessels and rigs, and then sued for money.  If it can be remedied with money, it's not irreparable harm.  The reason the court found there was irreparable harm is because the actions enjoined were dangerous and put people's lives at stake, as well as increased the risk of environmental damage from the rigs they were interfering with:  

        2. Likelihood of Irreparable Harm
        The district court concluded that Shell demonstrated a
        likelihood of irreparable harm absent injunctive relief because “illegal or tortious efforts to board or interfere with [its] vessels would be likely to present unacceptable risks to human life, property and the environment.” Shell Offshore, 864 F. Supp. 2d at 851 (internal quotation marks omitted). In  support of these findings, the court considered evidence that actions of the sort undertaken by Greenpeace activists against Shell vessels in New Zealand, Finland, and Greenland pose risks to the safetyof activists and vessel occupants alike. The court also found – and Greenpeace USA does not dispute – that “if Greenpeace USA successfully disrupted Shell’s operation, calculating the amount of economic harm would be very difficult.” Id.

        Greenpeace USA offers nothing beyond conclusory
        statements and case summaries in support of its one-sentence argument that the “likelihood of future injury is speculative and cannot be based on matters that occurred in 1997, or that 8 involved entities that are not Greenpeace USA.” The record provides ample support for the conclusion that Greenpeace USA has either undertaken directly, or embraced as its own, tactics that include forcible e boarding of vessels at sea and the use of human beings as impediments to drilling operations. We find  it too plain for debate that such tactics at minimum pose a serious risk of harm to human life, particularly if attempted in the extreme conditions of the Arctic Ocean, and that such harm could find no adequate remedy at law.

        •  I love it, Shell arguing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          emal, Words In Action

          that they should be able to stop something because the results can't be adequately remedied with money. The irony hurts.

          Thank you for the clarification though.

          It's double plus illegal because the potential results can't be fixed with money.

          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

          by AoT on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 01:44:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Irony? Because people can get killed (4+ / 0-)

            on offshore rigs?  

            That's irony?  

            When people die, they can't be compensated through money.  That's "irreparable harm."  That's what justifies an injunction.  Because if someone is killed because these people are trying to force their way onto a vessel or rig in the middle of the ocean, money can't adequately compensate for that.    

            Offshore rigs are inherently dangerous environments.  People trying to force their way onto those rigs and and trying to physically disrupt what's going on makes that particular vessel or rig situation more dangerous, and make it more likely people on that vessel or rig will get hurt or die.  
             

            •  No Irony because their actions (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Words In Action, burlydee, KenBee

              are irreparably damaging the world for generations to come and they make money off of it.

              If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

              by AoT on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 02:04:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Fine. And if you want them to stop, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib, CalGal47

                you don't use methods that put the lives and safety of people in danger.  

                •  Yes, and they've set it up (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Words In Action, burlydee

                  so that there's no effective way to stop it that doesn't include direct action against their construction.

                  Convenient, isn't it.

                  If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                  by AoT on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 02:17:36 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  How does direct action... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    coffeetalk, samddobermann

                    ...against their construction stop it?  

                    Seems like with the money they stand to make, they can afford to fix anything you can break.

                    •  That's why you keep doing it (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Words In Action, burlydee, KenBee

                      We have managed to stop the clear cutting of old growth redwoods here in California for more than a decade using these methods. It's not breaking things that they're trying to stop, it's getting in the way. At least with Keystone XL.

                      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                      by AoT on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 02:36:08 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Especially because there are so many willing to (0+ / 0-)

                      Let it be so, if not actively helping it be so. So very many who otherwise claim to be on the good side, protecting the vulnerable, and not just people.

                      But they aren't.

                      Add the median effective tax rate, healthcare costs (20%?), education costs, and other things guaranteed in Denmark & Sweden, we pay MORE for LESS. Somebody's gotta pay the billionaires. They don't grow on trees. ☮ ♥ ☺

                      by Words In Action on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 04:14:39 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Why don't you do something (0+ / 0-)

                besides repeating your claims ad infinitem? How about getting with an attorney and try to get an injunction against the oil companies including the tar sands folks on the grounds of the irreparable harm to the planet?

                Or run for office. I would suggest start small.

                I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

                by samddobermann on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 05:38:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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