Fighting the Most Powerful Criminal Organization in the World
By Captain Paul Watson
Elliott Ness had it easy taking on the Capone Gang. The Mafia, forget about it.
The Russian mob are pussycats compared to the Criminal Syndicate that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is now fighting.
The Japanese Whaling Industry that masquerades under the guise of the Japanese Cetacean Research Institute makes Murder Inc. look tame by comparison.
You see every year they head out to the North Pacific or down to the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary where they murder over a thousand intelligent and innocent whales. Some of their victims are endangered. In doing so they are violating a long list of international conservation laws and they are blatantly violating the sovereign territory of Australia by killing whales in the Australian Antarctic Territory.
They have been slaughtering whales with impunity for twenty years ever since the International Whaling Commission invoked the global moratorium on commercial whaling.
Some moratorium! In addition to the 18,000 whales the Japanese have murdered since then, their partners in crime, the Norwegians and the Icelanders have slaughtered thousands more.
What is the point of having the Antarctic and Southern Oceans Whale Sanctuary if whales can be illegally slaughtered within the Sanctuary without any interference by governments or international regulatory bodies?.
The task of defending the whales from these pirate whalers has fallen to non-governmental organizations whose only authority lies with the United Nations World Charter for Nature that allows for non-governmental intervention to uphold international conservation law.
Australia even threw out the right to challenge Japanese invasion of sovereign territorial waters on the grounds it would be contrary to trade interests with Japan.
And what Japan wants, Japan is used to getting as a leading global economic bully.
And Japan wants to kill whales, moreso as a matter of pride than anything else, although they make a tidy profit from marketing the flesh of these gentle social creatures to people with gourmet whale meat fetishes in Tokyo sushi bars.
There is really very little difference between Japanese whalers and elephant poachers or bush meat sellers in Africa but whereas the Africans are frowned upon for indulging in such savage trades, the Japanese are left to munch blubber unmolested by the law.
If a Uruguayan fishing boat is caught in the Australian Antarctic Territory with lines in the water illegally poaching toothfish, the Australian authorities will be merciless in their apprehension and prosecution and rightfully so. Yet when a Japanese harpoon rips open the flesh and shatters the organs of an endangered Fin whale, Australia does – nothing!
And when the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society volunteers dare to oppose this criminal activity, the world’s governments rally to Japan’s commands and unleash their bureaucrats to punish us for our compassion and concern.
Thus since opposing the Japanese whale killers, I have had my ships stripped of their flags by Canada, Britain, Belize and the Cayman Islands. Countries that have no problem with flagging illegal fishing vessels are now indignant that their flag would be used to save whales and not to kill them.
Belize took our flag away from the Farley Mowat after we departed for Antarctica effectively making us a pirate vessel and subject to legal assault on the high seas. When we return to any port we will be seized. We only had the flag for 10 days before it was taken away. Our ship Robert Hunter has been put on notice that our flag will be removed on February 12 although the ship has not committed a crime or broken any navigational rules. This is power and there is no doubt that the pressure is coming from Tokyo.
Canada has now charged me under the Canada Shipping Act and is threatening me with jail and fines for operating my vessel in opposition to whaling which according to Canada is not the proper use of a pleasure vessel. You can fish from a yacht, you can race around the world and rack up expensive rescue operations, you can treasure hunt from a yacht but apparently you cannot defend whales from a yacht. As volunteers who take pleasure from protecting whales, we believe that such an activity falls within the definition of a yacht. In fact we have been doing this for thirty years and now it suddenly is no longer acceptable.
The Japanese whalers have even enlisted the help of the U.S. Navy Intelligence office to track our ships and report our coordinates to them. They have also this year purchased an expensive Satellite tracking system from Vexcel-Microsoft to track our movements. This of course leaves us at a great disadvantage when the criminal whalers can have access to powerful government assistance and technology.
We do not have their money, their technology or their political pull. We are armed only with our compassion for the whales and the environment.
When Australian Environmental Minister Ian Campbell spoke out against the Japanese whalers, he found soon after that he would no longer be Environment Minister. It is becoming a commandment of government that one must not oppose Japanese interests. Let them overfish tuna and illegally kill whales just so long as they continue to buy uranium, timber, and assorted commodities. The customer is always right it appears and Japan is a big spender.
Japan intends to escalate their kills and will this year begin slaughtering the endangered and much loved Humpback whales.
Will this illegal carnage continue unabated and will tens of thousands of whales be condemned to death, or the species driven to extinction because the governments of the world have not got the backbone to stand up against the perverse desires of Japan to slaughter whales?
As for us, we do what we can with the resources available for us and many have told us it is a lost cause. It may be a lost cause but lost causes are the only causes really worth fighting for and thus despite the opposition of politicians, bureaucrats, and whalers we will continue to defend the gentle giants of the deep from the merciless savageness of our own species.
We are risk-takers. For over 40 years, we have grown from a small organization to a global movement of thousands of passionate volunteers from dozens of nations. What has never changed is our attitude.
We put ourselves on the front lines to expose the truth, save marine wildlife, conduct vital research and stop illegal activity through collaborative campaigns with communities and governments through lawful means and in accordance to international charters and declarations.