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Chemical and PR Companies Accused of Spying on Greenpeace
Greenpeace filed a federal lawsuit against Dow Chemical and Sasol North America (an energy and chemical company) alleging that the two companies, together with their public relations firms Dezenhall Resources and Ketchum, engaged in spying and other "clandestine and unlawful" actions aimed at undermining the group's anti-pollution efforts against the chemical industry. Greenpeace reports that the defendants' illicit activities included hacking computer and physical security codes, illegally recording phone calls, employing fake volunteers to act as undercover "moles" who spied at the homes and offices of Greenpeace leaders, and stealing thousands of confidential documents from Greenpeace, including employee records, donor and media lists. The suit also alleges that agents for the defendant companies broke into Greenpeace offices, acquired confidential phone records and infiltrated a community group in Louisiana to conduct surveillance. The suit names the private security firm Beckett Brown International (BBI) as the company that hired former executives to spy on Greenpeace between 1998 and 2000. BBI records, including intelligence reports, indicate that agents for BBI trolled through Greenpeace's privately-secured garbage dumpsters at least 120 times. The suit says that since BBI sought to destroy records pertaining to its spying exploits, the full scope of activities against Greenpeace is unknown.