Ashcroft is reportedly seeking to punish Greenpeace by dredging up a law that hasn't been used in well over a century to stop "Sailor-Mongering" - the luring of sailors off a ship by means of liquor and prostitutes. A conviction would basically hamstring the organization. But hwat is amazing is the contortions Ashcroft is willing to go through using the law to punish this administration's political enemies.
The Greenpeace case is particularly chilling because of the extraordinary effort to find a law that could be used to pursue the organization. The 1872 law is a legal relic that must have required much archeological digging through law books to find.- LA Times (free registraiton required)
It is also notable that other organizations have not faced such attacks. For example, in this same judicial district in Florida, the Cuban American group Democracy Movement organized a protest in which members sailed into a government-designated security zone. Although the members were charged, the organization was not. Similarly, other groups viewed favorably by the administration - such as anti-abortion groups - have not been subject to criminal indictments of their organizations for such protests.
The extraordinary effort made to find and use this obscure law strongly suggests a campaign of selective prosecution - the greatest scourge of the 1st Amendment.
This is the guy investigating the administration for leaks. Sounds politically impartial to me.