Tonight on Political Analysis, Sandy LeonVest is joined by Greenpeace USA's Deputy Campaign Director Dan Howells to take a critical look at the current Arctic drilling craze, and Shell Oil's recent decision to halt its exploratory drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. They also discuss Shell's current efforts to criminalize dissent -- and its use of the US judicial system to do it. The case against Greenpeace is being heard right now in California's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The question before the court is whether Shell has the right to preemptively shut down protests that the company deems would threaten its operations. In filing this injunction, Shell is attempting to deprive activists of their first amendment rights by preventing Greenpeace from protesting Shell's drilling in the Alaskan Arctic.
Sandy and Dan look at the ways in which a decision by the court in Shell's favor would take yet another sledgehammer to what remains of our increasingly frail democracy, and they discuss the chilling effect such a ruling would have on free speech and first amendment rights -- which would be felt by activists of every stripe, all across the country. Dan Howells stresses that such a ruling would render it nearly impossible to prevent other corporations from taking the same preemptive action against anyone they view as a "threat" to their activities -- for as long as that activity occurred.