Letter to the Editor
Junichi Sato’s opinion piece (January 18th, 2010) called for Anti-whalers to win over Japanese public opinion and criticized the tactics of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as alienating to the Japanese public.
He said “many would be surprised that Greenpeace has not sent a ship down to target the whaling fleet for the past two years.”
I am sure some people would indeed be surprised especially the ones accosted on the streets by Greenpeace fund-raisers who actually have claimed credit for Sea Shepherd campaigns. I know, for one such street huckster said so to myself, not knowing who I was.
Sato says that we must win the hearts and minds of the Japanese public and says that the Greenpeace approach is more constructive.
However the Greenpeace approach was to allegedly commit a felony by breaking and entering a mail facility and stealing a package of whale meat addressed to a private citizen. The Greenpeace justification being that the whale meat had been stolen from the Nisshin Maru and was being sold privately.
Therefore Greenpeacers Toru Suzuki and Junichi Sato decided that exposing this crime was worth committing a crime of their own. They were caught and charged with breaking and entering and theft.
And the crime they were exposing was an internal embezzlement within the whaling industry when the real crime is the whaling industry itself.
It was like having the Australian Federal Police exposing crimes by criminals against a gang leader for the benefit of the gang leader. The whaling industry said no crime had been committed and said that crewmembers taking cuts of whale meat for personal use was just a bonus. The only arrests and charges were against Sato and Suzuki.
Greenpeace then turned two alleged thieves into international whale saving heroes with multi-million dollar direct mail solicitations for their defense and it gave them an excuse to no longer send one of their expensive ships into the Southern Ocean to hang banners and take pictures of dying whales.
Greenpeace condemns Sea Shepherd tactics although not a single Sea Shepherd action in three decades from the day Sea Shepherd was founded has resulted in a single felony conviction, a single lawsuit and most importantly we have not caused a single injury nor suffered any fatalities or serious injuries ourselves.
The Greenpeace record includes hundreds of arrests and convictions including felonies and numerous successful lawsuits against Greenpeace. Greenpeace also has had numerous activists injured and they even have had fatalities on their ships.
Greenpeace states that their purpose is to bear witness; a Quaker tradition stemming from the founding of Greenpeace that states that evil can be overcome by bearing witness.
As a co-founder of Greenpeace I never knew this. This revisionist philosophy was not a part of the Greenpeace actions for the first decade of operations in the Seventies. It was adopted later and to me it is merely a theological justification for cowardice.
You don’t walk down the street and see a woman being assaulted and do nothing. You don’t walk down the street and see a child being molested and do nothing and you don’t walk down the street and see a puppy or kitten being kicked to death on the sidewalk and doing nothing but hang a banner and take a picture of the crime. And therefore you don’t watch a whale die an agonizing death while you hang banners and take pictures.
I find Junichi Sato to be less interested in saving whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary than he is about using Greenpeace funds to defend himself from the charges of being a petty thief.
Greenpeace abandoned the whales in the ocean to campaign in Japan to change the minds of the Japanese public. It’s a failure. Japanese support for whaling is entrenched. They have made zero progress in this educational approach.
Sea Shepherd however takes a more realistic approach - economics! We need to cut kill quotas every year through intervention and harassment of the fleet.
We have done so for four years. And for four years, the Japanese whaling fleet has not made a profit.
This is the language they understand - profit and loss and if we continue to impact their profits we will achieve our more realistic objective of sinking the Japanese whaling fleet economically. We intend to bankrupt them.
I would welcome Greenpeace’s help in directly intervening in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, after all they are presently building a $40 million dollar ship to add to their fleet and that would be useful; but for this great organization that I co-founded in 1972 to be directing it’s resources to the defense of two common burglars is simply pathetic and a betrayal of the whales.
Captain Paul Watson
Captain Paul Watson is a co-founder of Greenpeace (1972) and Greenpeace International (1979), the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and is currently the Master of the Steve Irwin presently in the Southern Ocean opposing the Japanese whaling fleet.