"Protect the Protest" caoliation launched to fight back against SLAPPs
CCR is excited to be part of a new coalition, Protect the Protest (PTP), which launched Tuesday. PTP brings together civil liberties, human rights, and environmental groups to push back against Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, or SLAPPs. SLAPPs are civil litigation filed, usually by large corporations, against those who have spoken out on an issue of public concern. The goal of a SLAPP suit is not winning in court, and the legal claims in the case are often meritless. Instead, those who file SLAPP suits aim to scare or so heavily burden the defendants with litigation that they cease their advocacy and activism.
"Free speech is pretty much the cornerstone of our democracy. If we're going to govern ourselves, we need a means to figure out what's true and what's not," said CCR Senior Managing Attorney Shayana Kadidal at the protest, which was held outside of the Kasowitz Benson Torres law firm in NYC. Kasowitz Benson Torres represents Energy Transfer Partners, the oil and gas company that built the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota and is attempting to build the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana. "If someone says something you don't like, you don't get to erase what they said or them; instead, you have to meet speech with speech."
Over the last year, several SLAPP suits have been filed against environmental activists and organizations for their efforts opposing corporate destruction of the planet. Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, and Resolute Forest Products, a Canadian logging company, have filed massive lawsuits, arguing that Greenpeace and other environmental organizations and activists have been operating, not campaigns, but unlawful racketeering enterprises. The lawsuits were filed under the RICO—or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations—law, which was enacted to bring down the mafia, but has also long been used to target political organizing.
Global groups call on Pope to release church files on former Cardinal McCarrick and others
Clergy sex abuse survivors and human rights attorneys called upon Pope Francis to order the release of all church files related to all allegations of sexual violence, including by former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. In a press conference Aug. 30 outside the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., they also demanded the Vatican condemn any suggestion by church officials that link the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults with the sexual orientation of either the victim or the offender.
"There is absolutely no link between sexual violence against children, minors, and vulnerable adults and sexual orientation," said Peter Isely, clergy sex abuse survivor and founding member of the global group Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA).
"Making this false link is immoral, dangerous, and wrong," continued Isely, a licensed clinical psychotherapist, who operated the only inpatient treatment center for survivors of sexual violence by clergy.
CCR joined two other global groups concerned with the Catholic church abuse crisis, Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) and Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), to call for the release of church files. The news conference was outside the Vatican embassy, where documents that allegedly implicate the Pope in the cover-up of McCarrick's offenses are thought to be filed, according to former Vatican ambassador Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.
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