Cermaq, like all "corporate psychopaths", sing and dance to the same tune; namely the pursuit of profits. However, maximizing financial earnings and dividends for shareholders (which in the case of Cermaq includes the Norwegian Government as the principal shareholder) often means minimizing public criticism and muzzling free of speech.
For those unlucky enough to be subjected by corporate bullies to what is known as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP for short) it is a bad joke and makes you want to scream!
In order to silence global criticism about salmon farming, the SLAPP is Cermaq's chosen form of attack. This is 'The Sound of Cermaq' - played to the Simon & Garfunkel's classic song 'The Sound of Silence':
Cermaq, like all corporations, have a duty to their shareholders and investors and are driven by the mantra of 'more, more more' and 'money, money, money'. "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell," said Edward Abbey (read more via "Growthism: The 'Economic' Cancer of Growth-To-Ruin").
Corporations, required by law to promote and pursue their own interests above all others, “prey upon and exploit others without regard for legal rules or moral limits,” writes Canadian law professor Joel Bakan in his book "The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Power".
"Corporations have been considered by the law to be “legal persons” for hundreds of years for the purposes of bringing or defending lawsuits, but this approach was designed to establish responsibility and liability more than it was designed to establish political entitlement," wrote Greg Sagan in July 2012. "But if we stay on this path then we will open ourselves to some grand comedy."
If corporations are allowed to muzzle campaigners via SLAPP suits, the silence will spread like a malignant cancer.
SLAPPs are legal intimidation to divert public attention away from how corporations are killing the planet - the corporate bully's weapon of mass distraction. If left unchecked like a malignant cancer it can lead to what is termed 'The SLAPP Chill Effect':
When Cermaq's lawyers Fasken Martineau sent their first 'letter before action' in March 2011 the intimidation and intent to silence screamed loud and clear:
Within five days of their threatening letter, Cermaq's lawyers demanded an apology, the removal of the offending images, a retraction and a pledge to ceast and desist.
Read Cermaq's letter of 18 March 2011 in full online here
Cermaq's lawyers received the following no word, one-finger reply whilst a 67-page rebuttal and riposte was sent to Cermaq's CEO in Norway (read letter in full online here).
"A company can say anything it likes about its mines, pipelines or fish farms, whether it is true or not (for instance, they can say that there is no harm being done to the environment), as long as it furthers the interests of their shareholders," explained Andrew Gage of West Coast Environmental Law in his article "How Do We Slap Back at SLAPPs?" (11 April 2012). "Anti-SLAPP legislation might allow courts to deal with a wider range of litigation intended to silent critics, but changing the law of defamation might prevent SLAPPs from getting off the ground in the first place."
During the 20-day trial in the Supreme Court of British Columbia (16th January to 10th February 2012), the spread of cancer, use of satirical language and mock cigarette packets and SLAPPs was discussed at length.
For example, here's some extracts from official transcripts:
Day 15 of the trial saw reference to Simon & Garfunkel's 'Sound of Silence':
Justice Adair's final judgment (28 September 2012) made reference to cancer-causing chemicals in farmed salmon and SLAPPs (read the judgment in full online here).
Justice Adair also ruled (#180 p53):
Read Justice Adair's judgment (28 September 2012) in full online here
Testimony at the trial also made reference to the infamous 'McLibel' case when McDonald's spent £10 million suing Helen Steel and Dave Morris (read more via "McLibel, SLAPPs and Intimidation: Litigation to stifle and silence"):
During the 'McLibel' trial, Helen Steel defiantly told McDonald's that the corporation - worth billions - could McFish off!
The litigious manner in which Cermaq (via their subsidiaries Mainstream Canada and EWOS Canada) have attempted to silence the 'Salmon Farming Kills' campaign is a joke straight out of Monty Python - and has come back to slap Cermaq right back in the face.
It is difficult to avoid a sense of schadenfreude as Cermaq's SLAPP suit has slapped the corporation back in the face like a rotten farmed salmon.
Watch Monty Python's "Fish Slapping Dance" online here
As The Westerly News reported (4 October 2012) following Cermaq's lawsuit loss in the Supreme Court of British Columbia:
"His [Don Staniford's] approach lies somewhere between Monty Python and Darth Vader," wrote D.C. Reid in an article - "Salmon farm activist acquitted of defamation" - in The Daily News (4 October 2012). "Having read a lot of what he has written, I ignore his inflammatory approach and follow-up his links to the science. They are on the money."
Cermaq know all too well about money - mostly losing money. On Tuesday (23 October), CEO Jon Hindar will report Cermaq's Q3 2012 financial results which make grim reading: Cermaq's earnings have fallen by over 50%! Seafood Source reported (5 October):
Read more via "Diseases Cost Cermaq Millions"
"Money, money, money must be funny in the rich man's world," as Swedish supergroup ABBA sung.
In neighbouring Norway, Cermaq has been singing the Norwegian Blues as infectious diseases, sea lice and toxic chemicals have spread like a cancer throughout the salmon farming sector.
Greg ‘The Lion’ McDade, legal counsel for Alexandra Morton, hit the last nail in coffin during his final oral submission at Canada’s salmon inquiry (the ‘Cohen Commission’) in November 2011 when he said: “Like the Monty Python sketch, we have a dead parrot.”
Read more via "Norwegian Blues: Monty Python's Dead Farmed Salmon"
By pursuing legal action against the satirical 'Salmon Farming Kills' campaign, Cermaq has shown a sense of humour failure. Whilst Cermaq chose to issue a 'Notice of Civil Action', demand a retraction, apology, immediate injunction and gagging order, the BC Salmon Farmers Association publicly dismissed the cigarette packets as a bad joke.
As Wild Salmon First reported (3 October 2012):
Cermaq's repeated denials in court that salmon farming was "controversial" or produced a product which contained cancer-causing chemicals were straight out of the PR handbook made famous by Iraq's Minister of Information under Saddam Hussein.
"While it is disappointing that she ruled against us on a technical legal issue, we will pursue this vigorously in the court of appeal," said David Wotherspoon, Cermaq's lawyer in The Canadian Press (16 October 2012).
As it happens, "controversial" scientists Professor Richard Routledge and Dr. Alexandra Morton will be presented with the Sterling Prize for In Support of Controversy at Simon Fraser University on Wednesday (24 October).
Cermaq should also read the book "The Aquaculture Controversy in Canada" (2010) from University of British Columbia press.
For more details on Cermaq's 'Salmon Farming Kills' lawsuit Vs. Don Staniford read online here
Watch a video message from Don Staniford speaking before his visit to Scotland & Ireland - online here