September 15, 2008

Novel New Criminal Defense: Globaloney Made Me Do It!

Hatched by Dafydd

The headline raises immediate and insistent alarm bells: Jury decides that threat of global warming justifies breaking the law.

The Independent reports that a British jury has just acquitted eco-vandals of spraypainting the smokestack of a coal-fired power plant, causing damages to the tune of £35,000 ($63,000); the successful defense was that the defendants had to "tag" the plant -- because of the urgent imperative to stop global warming:

Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a "lawful excuse" to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of "lawful excuse" under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage -- such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.

The not-guilty verdict, delivered after two days and greeted with cheers in the courtroom, raises the stakes for the most pressing issue on Britain's green agenda and could encourage further direct action.

"Lawful excuse" was, in fact, the only defense offered by the six defendants, members of Greenpeace all.

However some might try to spin this, it is not an example of "jury nullification" -- where a jury accepts that the defendants committed the criminal offense but hold that the law itself is wrong, throwing it back in the teeth of judge and prosecutor. By contrast, this judge actually allowed the defense that vandalizing the smokestack was necessary to prevent global warming... which is tantamount to begging the jury to run with it.

Whatever one thinks of jury nullification, what happened in Great Britain is far worse and more dangerous. It's utterly clear that the legal defense of "lawful excuse" was never meant to include the kind of situation in this trial. As the example cited above illustrates, the law was meant to cover immediate and urgent actions taken to stop an already extant and undisputed threat from spreading -- e.g., breaking down the door of a house to put out a fire inside.

This is entirely different from what happened in this case:

  • The supposed peril the defendants were trying to avert -- global warming -- is highly disputed. There is no scientific "consensus;" many respected, oft-published scientists working in the relevant fields argue that it either isn't happening at all; or that the damage is less than people like the high priest of globaloney, James Hansen, claim; or that to the extent that such damage might occur, it is caused much more by factors outside of human control, such as sun activity.
  • The supposed peril is not at all "imminent," as Hansen claims; even he speaks in a time frame of decades and centuries.
  • And most pointedly, the defendants' actions have no direct connection whatsoever to averting the supposed peril.

Unlike firemen smashing down a door to put out a fire, where the connection is obvious and direct, spraypainting insulting comments about the prime minister, Gordon Brown, as the defendants intended -- or even just spraypainting "Gordon," which is all they succeeded in doing -- has only the most tenuous, indirect effect on the energy policy of Great Britain... and an even more gossamer effect, if any at all, on global energy policy, which is driven far more by the ravenous energy needs of India and Red China and the energy policies of much more influential countries like the United States. Very few Americans will decide to oppose clean-coal technology because some idiots climbed a smokestack in Kingsnorth and sprayed the word "Gordon" at the top.

The judge had to fold himself into a Gordian Knot to equate the political war waged by Greenpeace against energy production with a burning conflagration that had to be extinguished. It's as ludicrous a stretch as arguing that bombing a random tube station in London is utterly necessary to bring the world to Islam.

Nevertheless, the judge allowed the defense team to make the argument to the jury, presenting numerous "expert" witnesses (including James Hansen himself) to speak about "the gravity of the climate danger," the "imminent peril," and the "bleak picture" of Britain's future if more coal-fired plants are allowed to be built. In other words, to hell with the voters and the government officials they elected; Greenpeace knows best, and it has license to force its own agenda on Great Britain by any means necessary.

(Hansen, you no doubt recall, was the putative scientist -- has he actually committed any real science since the early 1980s, when he made his bones? -- who recently called for energy-company executives and even other climate scientists to be criminally prosecuted for "high crimes against humanity and nature"... for daring to dissent against the "consensus opinion" of globaloney. At least Hansen didn't call it an "intergenerational crime," as co-globaloney religionist David Suzuki did.)

A verdict cannot be "jury nullification" when it is encouraged, practically demanded, by the judge. In this trial, the judge twisted court rules to admit "evidence," such as "experts" in AGCC -- including "the world's leading climate scientist," as the Independent's "Environment Editor," Michael McCarthy, characterizes James Hansen -- to testify that a childish graffito scrawled on a smokestack, with the intent to change election results towards the Left, has the same kind of "lawful excuse" as breaking down a door to put out a fire. This isn't jury nullification; the correct term for this is "legislating from the bench."

The best conclusion to be drawn is that the judge himself is an ardent believer in anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC), and he saw this trial as an opportunity to force an acquittal, embarass the government, and foster further such "actions directes," thus furthering his own political goals.

Either that, or the judge is a baboon.

What is "direct action?" In essence, it means any action taken outside the normal legal, constitutional, political, and elective mechanisms to institute political changes or circumvent the will of the voters. For example, when Earth Liberation Front activists burn down condo complexes in order to prevent development, that is direct action -- but it's also direct action when militant Islamist terrorists raid a Jewish hospital's maternity ward and shoot to death all the mothers and babies.

Although the term can theoretically refer to actions on both left and right, in practice, only lefties proudly use it; they use it to label themselves as heroic resistance fighters when they vandalize other people's property or interfere with other people's lives. Or when they assassinate innocent victims from ambush.

In this case, the damage was minimal: painting "Gordon" on the smokestack. But the precedent set by the acquittal -- that a fervent belief in the leftist cause celebre du jour gives the anointed license to commit a crime in order to "call attention" to the politics of the issue -- is terribly corrosive to civil society. It may well hasten the destruction of the once great nation of Britain. In fact, this verdict could become precedent for a defense against the crime of terrorist murder; does anybody really believe that the "Kingsnorth Six" believe in AGCC any more fervently than the "Leeds Four," who committed the London bombings on July 7th, 2005, believe in radical, Salafist Islamism?

If a judge will allow six members of Greenpeace to get away with criminal activity because of their "honestly held belief" that they must save the planet from global warming, then what is to stop another judge from allowing future "holy warriors" to get away with blowing people up because of their honestly held belief that they must save the planet from heresy and blasphemy against Allah and His prophet Mohammed?

As an immediate stopgap to prevent its use as precedent, British lawmakers had better get busy and rewrite the Criminal Damage Act of 1971; but you know they will not, because most of those in both the major political parties in the UK believe in globaloney almost as fervently as the Kingsnorth Six. And even if MPs found their huevos and did make explicit that the defense is not meant to excuse politically motivated violence and thuggery, I suspect the British courts would swiftly declare that the original law had created a "right," which would then preclude a subsequent law from "taking away" that right.

Take note, Americans: More and more American judges are looking not to our own Constitution but to "international law and standards" to judge cases here in the United States; this includes even Supreme Court justices, such as John Paul Stevens and Anthony Kennedy. If this becomes the norm in Europe and the UK -- a sincerely held leftist worldview gives the anointed license to commit crimes to further their vision -- then it will swiftly become the norm here in America, as well.

One presidential candidate, John H. McCain, will nominate judicially conservative judges and justices who will fight this trend. The other, Barack H. Obama, will work feverishly behind the scenes to appoint federal judges who would backdoor it into the Constitution.

Please express your preference by sending money to the party of your choice... and of course on November 4th as well.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 15, 2008, at the time of 3:36 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Rovin

Either that, or the judge is a baboon.

While Dafydd did not enter into his argument the evoutionary "experiment" that the judge was or was not a decendant of apes, the monophyletic theory may very well explain the state of mind of a judge that throws reason and responsibility out the window for the sake of a "greater good".

Let the British eat this poisonous cake.

The above hissed in response by: Rovin [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2008 6:35 PM

The following hissed in response by: BarbaraS

It's too late for Britain. They have ruled that sharia law is legal for muslims and will be upheld in British courts. One wonders what will happen when one of the party is non-muslim. Which laws will prevail: British law or sharia. They are doomed.

The above hissed in response by: BarbaraS [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 16, 2008 12:53 AM

The following hissed in response by: Neo

This is a company [Lehman Brothers] which had on its board, or so we are told, the ultimate snake oil salesman, James Hansen, the self-same company having ambitions of becoming "the primary brokerage for emission permits".

Somehow, it is entirely fitting that a company which was looking to exploit the smoke and mirrors business of carbon trading should crash and burn.

Lehman Brothers .. died because of AGW .. who knew ?

Are government employees allowed to sit on private sector boards ?

The above hissed in response by: Neo [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 16, 2008 9:15 AM

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