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Greenpeace Files Lawsuit against Corporate Spies
Lawsuit charges Dow, Sasol, PR Firms with document theft, infiltration and conspiracy
WASHINGTON - November 30 - On Monday, Greenpeace filed a lawsuit against two
major chemical companies, their PR firms and several individuals for
activities that amount to corporate espionage. Chemical companies Dow
Chemical and Sasol (formerly CONDEA Vista), through the PR firms
Dezenhall Resources (Nichols Dezenhall at the time) and Ketchum, hired
private investigators from the firm Beckett Brown International (BBI) to
spy on Greenpeace from 1998 to 2000. The suit charges the defendants
stole thousands of documents, intercepted phone call detail records
(CDRs), trespassed and conducted unlawful surveillance and theft of
confidential information related to Greenpeace’s public interest work.
“The message of this lawsuit is: when companies engage in espionage,
they will be discovered and exposed. These unacceptable and
underhanded tactics interfered with valuable work we were undertaking
to protect public health and expose environmental crimes,” said
Greenpeace USA Executive Director Phil Radford.
The complaint charges that the chemical companies, PR firms and individuals “conspired to and did surveil, infiltrate and steal confidential information with the intention of preempting, blunting or thwarting” Greenpeace’s environmental campaigns.
At the time, Greenpeace was working with communities threatened by dioxin and other chemical pollutants, including Lake Charles, Louisiana. In that community, a local citizens’ group was infiltrated by an operative of BBI, a firm composed of former secret service agents and police officers.
BBI and the public relations firms expanded their espionage to Greenpeace’s office in Washington, DC where, for two years, they stole thousands of confidential documents and pursued other methods of intrusion and surveillance. Greenpeace launched an investigation into these activities after being contacted by a journalist in 2008.
Since 2008, Greenpeace has uncovered additional documents showing the nature of the espionage and the identities of many of participants, including work orders, billing worksheets, checks, and invoices.
To read the complaint filed in DC Federal Court, and access supporting documents go to www.spygate.org