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Annces Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:35 AM
Original message
Capt Paul Watson - Dodging, Chasing, Luring Japanese Whalers to Save Whales, Huffington Post
They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains
the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent.
-- D.H. Lawrence (Whales Weep Not)







As Animal Planet's highly rated show Whale Wars nears the end of its second season in the US and Canada, it has proven to have been a controversial action drama provoking emotions ranging from joyous support to enraged opposition.

Set at the bottom of the world in the remote and bitterly cold waters off the coast of Antarctica, Whale Wars documents the increasingly escalating confrontations between the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Japanese whaling fleet.

This Animal Planet show has stirred up controversy internationally with audiences taking sides either with whale defenders or whale killers. There is an additional controversy amongst those who side with the whales but condemn the tactics of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

What is important is that love us or hate us, people are watching the show and becoming aware of the issues and the annual drama in the great Southern Ocean.

Negative accusations range from the Sea Shepherd crew being incompetent to outright condemnation as criminals and eco-terrorists. There is no doubt that the show provokes emotions and more importantly it stimulates discussion and thought. These elements added to life threatening drama on board a ship set amongst icebergs, storms, whales, and penguins makes for a compelling and successful television show.

There are four major points of criticisms leveled against Sea Shepherd. First that the Sea Shepherd crew are not competent; second that Japanese whaling is legal and Sea Shepherd has no right to oppose it; third that the Sea Shepherd crew are "eco-terrorists;" and fourth that Sea Shepherd has not accomplished anything significant with its campaigns.

It is true that many of the Sea Shepherd crewmembers are inexperienced, but the fact is that these volunteers bring a passion to the project that cannot be found in a hired crew. The officers however are indeed experienced. The best evidence for competence is that after five voyages to Antarctic waters, Sea Shepherd has not suffered any loss of life, any serious injuries and we have not had any mishaps like fire, oil spills, groundings, or ice damage. The whalers have suffered three deaths, two by accident and one by suicide, a catastrophic fire that was the cause of one death, oil spills, and numerous serious injuries as a result of their whaling operation. The Steve Irwin may not be an ice class vessel, but none of the whaling vessels are either, and this last season the Yushin Maru No. 2 suffered significant ice damage whereas the Steve Irwin was not damaged at all.

The test of competence is in experience. In this hostile sea where Sir Ernest Shackleton lost his ship and Sir Robert Scott perished with his crew, the Sea Shepherd crew have proven themselves competent.

With regard to the law, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society operates in accordance to the principles established in the United Nations World Charter for Nature that allows for non-governmental organizations and individuals to uphold international conservation laws and treaties.

Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is not endorsed by the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission. Japan is targeting endangered whales in an internationally established whale sanctuary in violation of the terms of an international moratorium on commercial whaling. The Japanese fleet is violating the Antarctic Treaty by conducting commercial activity and refueling their ships south of sixty degrees. The Australian Federal Court has ruled that Japan is in contempt of an Australian Federal Court order prohibiting Japanese whaling activities inside the Australian Antarctic Territorial waters.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society intervenes against Japanese whaling operations because we are an anti-poaching organization and the only difference between whale poachers in the Southern Ocean and elephant poachers in East Africa is that the African poachers are black and poor. In Africa, the rangers shoot poachers. We merely toss rotten butter at them.

The Sea Shepherd crew is doing what governments should be doing, but refuse to do themselves, because of the threats of trade retaliation from Japan.

After five voyages to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, not one member of the Sea Shepherd crew has been charged for any crime in relation to Sea Shepherd activities. There has not been a single whaler injured by our activities. There has not been a single arrest warrant issued and Sea Shepherd crew are free to travel internationally. In fact, during more than thirty years of operations not one Sea Shepherd crewmember has been convicted of a felony and not a single person has ever been injured.

Of course, these days it does not matter if a person is defending whales or running for President of the United States, the accusatory word of choice is "terrorist." The word has become practically meaningless a result, with even the Dalai Lama officially classified as a terrorist by China.

If "terrorist" I be, then it is a strange sort of terrorist that I am. I've received a Presidential award from George H. Bush, the Amazon Peace Prize presented by the President of Ecuador, honorary citizenships from Key West, Florida and towns in Australia, France and Canada. I was cited as an "Environmental Hero of the 20th Century" by Time magazine in 2000, and I have been invited to meet with dignitaries like Prince Albert of Monaco, President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, Vice-President Dr. Alfred Palacio of Ecuador, and I was invited to address Ministers of the Government of Brazil. In addition Sea Shepherd's Advisory Board includes former Australian Environment Minister Ian Campbell and former British Columbian Environment Minister Rafe Mair, two men of a conservative nature, not inclined to endorse "terrorism."

The objective of the Sea Shepherd campaign is to sink the Japanese whaling fleet economically. For the last four years we have cut the quotas and negated the profits of the industry. Up until Sea Shepherd interventions, the Japanese succeeded in killing their entire quota. Our intervention in 2005/2006 saw the quota fall short for the first time by 83 whales. Operation Leviathan in 2006/2007 and Operation Migaloo in 2007/2008 saw the quota cut in half at 500 whales and 484 whales respectively. Operation Musashi in 2008/2009 cut the quota by 305 and forced the whalers to extend their season by two weeks at great cost.

The financial statements for the Institute for Cetacean Research show liabilities of 2.1 billion yen ($23 million). The industry survives on government subsidies. The whalers admit they need to take 750 whales to break even. We have prevented that. Plans to construct a replacement factory ship have been put on hold for lack of capital to invest in upgrading the fleet.

We have the Japanese whaling fleet on the ropes financially and we intend to keep the pressure on until we shut this illegal industry down once and for all.

Some people may not agree with our methods but our clients are not people. We represent the interests of the great whales and as long as we are not causing injury to humans and as long as we are not in violation of the law, then our actions are justified.

If I were a "terrorist" or even a criminal, I would be in jail. It's as simple as that.

There are more than 1,500 whales swimming freely in the waters off Antarctica that would now be dead if not for our intervention. These are results that we are proud of that make all the risks worthwhile.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-watson/the-cold-war-...

(printed in full with permission of Sea Shepherd)
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Obama2012 Donating Member (240 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:38 AM
Response to Original message
1. I love the Sea Shepherds
I wish I could crew on one of their boats, actually.
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
2. This sums it up nicely,
"If I were a "terrorist" or even a criminal, I would be in jail. It's as simple as that."

Kudos to the Sea Shepherd, Captain Watson and the crew.

:)
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
3. The U.S. has been whaling since 1999, but they won't go after U.S. ships.
I am not trying to defend whaling, I am defending the Japanese.
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Larkspur Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. U.S. whaling is done by Native American tribes and the Inuit
there is no commercial whaling done in the US anymore. Whaling went extinct because of sharp whale population reduction that raised the price of oil on the market and because petroleum was discovered in the US and was cheaper than whale oil. Commercial whaling went extinct in the U.S. because of market forces and the discovery of alternate energy source. Ironically, that alternate energy source, petroleum, is now a threat to all life on Earth.
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Why does the race of the whalers matter?
"Commercial whaling went extinct in the U.S."

Japan makes the same claim, but Iceland openly admits to commercial whaling.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. i'm just guessing, but i think it matters b/c therefore they're not US ships.
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. The ships are still from the U.S.
U.S. citizens are still whaling.
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Larkspur Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. Race doesn't matter
Watson has also opposed Iceland's whaling, but Iceland does theirs closer to home, where they can legally arrest Watson. The Japanese are whaling in a sanctuary and in Australian waters without permission from the Australian government.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:35 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. Are there still warrants out for Watson in Europe? Wikipedia is unclear.
Until he takes on someone else than the Japanese, Watson will have to defend against the implication of racism. The Japanese will never believe that has not been part of the reason, but I don't think he cares.
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nyc 4 Biden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #16
20. The Sea Shepherds have taken on many different adversaries.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. According to WIkipedia he has had to "get out of town" on more than one occasion
In part of the article where it says Watson and Distefano were convicted in absentia in Norway. Wondering if that was still hanging over their heads.
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Cetacea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #3
26. The US is NOT pro-whaling.
Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972...

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lies and propaganda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
4. love what they are attempting
but shit.. if you have ever watched teh show you know how shittily thrown together the crew is, along with a captain who cant operate the boat!
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Larkspur Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Most of the crew are volunteers and may not have much sailing experience
Watson is a fine Captain and he is the one that got them out of the ice flows. The most incompetent officer was the original 1st officer, who was a male chauvanist jerk and didn't want to listen to new ideas.

The problem Sea Shepherd had this year was that they didn't anticipate the measures the Japanese whalers did to counter their tactics. Watson is already changing that and he's getting help from the team that currently has the fastest boat in the world, Earthrace. The Japanese whaler ships are more modern and faster than the Steve Irwin. Earthrace will be a big help, but it would be nice if others, like the captain-owner of Earthrace would join Sea Shepherd.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. The Japanese really fought back for the first time this year and it had Watson running scared
The sheer hypocrisy of his protests that he has the right to defend his ship in one breath and then whining when the whalers do the same. Worse yet his ratings and therefore his income might be at risk. It really is great theater.
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Larkspur Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Next year Watson will be ready for them and I can't wait to hear you whine
for the whalers.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 10:29 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. You have to admit his hypocrisy is so thick you could cut it with a knife
But that is much of the shows entertainment value.
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Larkspur Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #14
22. You logic of defending the Japanese whalers is a joke
Watson fights for what he believes and he's got more supporters than the Japanese whalers.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. I am not defending whalers, but Watson is not particularly defensible either n/t
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nyc 4 Biden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #11
21. I don't think he was running scared...
...when he rammed the side of the Yushin Maru #3.

The sea shepherds act in defense of the whales not themselves.

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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #21
25. His statements and actions showed otherwise
Edited on Mon Aug-24-09 04:18 PM by ProgressiveProfessor
He was very concerned that the whalers might use his own tactics against him and escalated the violence considerably. Not the actions of a calm and rational man in control of the situation.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
8. Hope for more success, and safety for Sea Shepherd, with respect, and gratitude. n/t
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 10:41 PM
Response to Original message
15. Well said, Capt. Watson, not that much of anything will convince the critics.
I love SSCS and everything they do. What's funny is that they're thought to be incompetent because of what's seen on tv. What makes for good tv? High drama, maybe? Take a campaign that lasts for months and break it up into 10 or so hours of television. You're going to see the absolute highlights and the absolute lowlights. It's television.

I'm lucky enough to know a few folks involved and I got to tour the Steve Irwin some time ago. I'm AMAZED at what they accomplish with the resources they have.

Resources that, I might add, include some new toys and the Earthrace vessel next year...
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InvisibleTouch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 12:49 AM
Response to Original message
17. K & R for Sea Shepherd. Love these guys!
While most of us sit at our keyboards and maybe send a donation as we can and sign an online petition here and there, these guys are actually out there putting their lives at risk for a tremendously important cause. I can think of few people or organizations for whom I have more respect than Captain Watson and the Sea Shepherd crew.
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ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 03:30 AM
Response to Original message
18. Although the Reichists who post here support killing whales for money, I applaud and admire
these people. They have the courage, integrity, a moral compass, and the will to do everything possible to save sentient lives through non-violent means. Those who oppose them lack one, some, many, or all of those attributes.
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OneBlueSky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
19. the Sea Shepherds are heroes in my book . . .
while outfits like Greenpeace bitch and moan and continue sending me elaborate fund raising mailings, these folks are actually on the front lines of the whale wars, doing everything in their power to stop the illegal Japanese whalers from taking "research" specimens that somehow magically end up on Japanese dinner tables . . .

the Sea Shepherds are doing what the Australian and other governments should be doing, which is working to shut down illegal whaling operations in what is supposed to be a whale sanctuary . . . I consider them environmental heroes, and wish them continued success in their war on the whalers . . . if I had any extra cash, this is one of the organizations I would support wholeheartedly . . .
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