Greenpeace mon Amour
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
I gather that my recent request to Greenpeace to assist our efforts in the Southern Ocean with one of their expensive ice-class ships has been denied. I did not get a ‘no,’ nor did I get a ‘yes,’ but I am assuming the fact that I got no response at all can be taken as a negative. So alas, a Greenpeace ship does not look like it will be forthcoming.
One Greenpeace official did leak to one of our directors that their official internal policy is to act as if Sea Shepherd does not exist. Apparently anything we say or do is not to be acknowledged. In martial arts this would be called “the way of the ostrich.”
It really is a pity. Not only would an extra ship have guaranteed us the strength to shut down whaling here in the Southern Ocean by 100 percent, but it could have also shown the world that environmental organizations can mend fences and work together to achieve a mutual goal. I mean if one of your objectives is to promote peace, it’s always a good practice to start this at home.
Greenpeace has sent five direct mail appeals over five weeks asking for donations to defend whales in the Southern Ocean; this is a hot topic of discussion and Sea Shepherd is generating headlines, so why not eh?
A Greenpeace insider told me that Greenpeace is simply taking advantage of the publicity that Sea Shepherd is generating in the Southern Ocean to raise funds for their so-called real campaign to save the whales, which I have come to discover takes place not in the Southern Ocean or even in Japan, but amazingly enough in Washington D.C.
The following is the latest Greenpeace appeal from John Hocevar the land-lubber Greenpeace Ocean Campaign Director (with my critique of course):
Dear (insert name from mass mailing list)
As you read this, the Japanese whaling fleet is busy killing whales in the Southern Ocean. Just like they did last year and just like they will again this time next year if nothing changes at the International Whaling Commission (IWC). But there’s hope.
Captain Paul Watson: Actually John, they are not killing whales in the Southern Ocean as your mass produced missive is being read. Sea Shepherd is busy preventing them from killing whales in the Southern Ocean. In fact they have not yet killed a single whale in the Southern Ocean this season. There is hope. You’re right. This will be the most disastrous whaling year for Japan ever because our three ships are down here in the Southern Ocean. I could use your help but I understand that those origami whales must be your priority and thus I understand why Greenpeace can’t make it down here. It must be difficult to pilot a ship and make origami whales at the same time. I wish we had some origami whales John. Unfortunately we only have real ones and as you manufacture your paper whales, the real ones are on the decline.
Not only does President Obama have the power to make those changes; he’s already promised he would. Here’s what he told Greenpeace back in 2008:
"As president, I will ensure that the U.S. provides leadership in enforcing international wildlife protection agreements, including strengthening the international moratorium on commercial whaling. Allowing Japan to continue commercial whaling is unacceptable."
Captain Paul Watson: John, really, were you born yesterday? You must realize now that what a politician says before the election is always completely at odds with his policies after the election. President Barack Obama has done something even George Bush Jr. did not do before him…he has sold out the whales John! He did it with his compromise proposal that failed when the majority of the IWC shot it down last June in Morocco. You remember the compromise John, the one that Greenpeace supported, the one that would have legalized whaling in return for cutting the Southern Ocean kill quotas in half. Of course Sea Shepherd had already cut the kill quotas in half but since the official Greenpeace position is that Sea Shepherd does not exist, I suppose that means our accomplishments did not happen. But listen to his words John. Obama said he will provide leadership. He did not say what kind of leadership he would provide. As it turned out his leadership decision was to compromise. “Allowing Japan to continue ‘commercial’ whaling is unacceptable”. Unless of course it is called by another name like ‘scientific or cultural.’ What’s that new Japanese ploy? Ahhhh yes, ‘our food culture.’ We can’t have America interfering with food culture can we? I mean look what happened when Westerners interfered with the food culture of Borneo: what a disaster that was when eating people was outlawed. There were a lot of really pissed off cannibals John.
It’s time for President Obama to keep his word and save the whales. Tell him to end commercial whaling once and for all by reforming the IWC.
Captain Paul Watson: Keep his word! John he’s a politician, what are you thinking? But seriously John, you’ve got to direct your energies towards the nations killing whales. The United States does not have a commercial whaling industry. Whale meat is illegal in America John. Don’t you think it’s strange to be protesting whaling against a non-whaling country? Greenpeace is always going on about U.S. imperialism and telling other countries what to do and here you are asking the United States to tell Japan what to do. I don’t get it John.
Yesterday, I personally paid a visit to the White House to drop off a letter from Greenpeace that outlined the results of a recent poll we conducted. The results speak for themselves. An overwhelming amount of Americans — 83%! — want the President to stand by his campaign pledge to strengthen the international ban on commercial whaling.
Captain Paul Watson: Wow, really John! I wish I could have been there to drop off that letter with you. From down here on the rolling deck of my ship the Steve Irwin, I can only wish that I was there in Washington, D.C., where obviously the real action is taking place. My God John, did you get to see the man—or anyone in his administration? Probably not considering you’re not the Japanese Ambassador, but good on you John, for trying at least. Did he like the origami whales I wonder?
I thought it was important for the President and his administration to know just how strongly the American public feels about this issue. This isn’t something that can be ignored or that is going to go away.
Captain Paul Watson: I just know the President of the United States is lying awake at night fretting about the Japanese killing whales in the Southern Ocean. Hell, it must be the number one concern on his agenda. As if he’s not got enough foreign affairs issues to worry about without taking on the problems of Japan. Actually, I think the U.S. Whaling Commissioner Monica Medina is more concerned with illegally using the internal revenue service as a weapon to do Japan’s bidding to harass Sea Shepherd. Apparently the Japanese are upset that Sea Shepherd is cutting their kill quotas and costing them money and they want the U.S. to do something about it. I wonder if the Japanese are sending little origami whales to the President also with messages like “keep Sea Shepherd off our backs”?
You have an important role to play in this. The President has to hear your voice and the voices of everyone who wants to save the whales. Help make yesterday’s delivery even more powerful by sending the President a message today.
Captain Paul Watson: Do I have an important role to play John? Do you think I can make a difference? I would like to, you know, make a difference, but unfortunately I’m down here off the coast of Antarctica and these annoying whaling ships are keeping me from getting to the White House where the real action is taking place. Our origami class was actually disrupted yesterday when a harpoon boat attempted to damage our helicopter with a water cannon; how disappointing.
But I get your point about the need to send a message. Yes, ladies and gentlemen this is your opportunity to make a difference. Take action and send your origami paper whale to President Obama. That will show him the old what for, a genuine origami ass whupping.
We have to break this cycle. To save the whales once and for all we need to end whaling once and for all. That means no Japanese whaling fleet heading to the Southern Ocean next year and that means reforming the IWC. President Obama has the power to make that happen. And, together, we have the power to hold him to his word.
Captain Paul Watson: John, let me tell you how to break the cycle. You hit them in the one place they understand – their bank accounts. By cutting kill quotas, we cost them their profits. I could be wrong, I mean the power of the origami whale is awesome, I know, but we are trying to do our wee part down here at the bottom of the planet. I especially like the part where you say to save the whales we need to end whaling. That’s a profound and highly strategic insight John!
It's time to make the IWC work for whales and not whalers.
Captain Paul Watson: I remember that above sentence from the 1978 Greenpeace mail-out, and the 1988, and the 1999 as well. But John, the IWC has never worked for whales, does not work for whales, and will never work for whales. The IWC represents the whaling industry and the word industry does not jive well with the word conservation.
P.S. Last spring, we got the President’s attention. We can do it again but it is going to take the same type of effort. Please forward this on to everyone you know who loves whales after you take action.
Captain Paul Watson: Okay so you got his attention and you did what? What was the result of getting his attention last spring? If it were a successful venture in getting his attention, then why the need to get his attention again? You know John, I’m a co-founder of Greenpeace. I was on the ship on that first campaign off Amchitka in 1971. I was the First Officer when we confronted the Soviet whalers for the first time in 1975. During that time I don’t think we ever viewed making origami whales and writing letters as “taking action.” Even the mere mention of doing such a thing would have had us rolling on the deck in laughter.
I know John, I’m old school, a throwback to the days when Greenpeacers blocked real harpoons instead of virtual ones. You can find my pictures in the archives, if they have not been censured from the official history yet. I realize that I’ve been demoted, at least in the ‘new history’ of Greenpeace from being a co-founder to a so-called early member, but I do remember the days when we knew what it was to take real action to save the whales. In fact, I’m still doing it. But I forgot that you were just four years old back then so you probably have no memories of those days when real harpoons were flying over our heads, and confronting whalers was more than just a video game.
I love it when you say “we” pioneered the campaigns to end whaling, “we” were the first to place our bodies between the harpoons and the whales, and “we” were the first to take “direct action” to save the whales. What exactly do you mean by “we” John? I don’t recall any of you in those boats with us back then. Name me one current Greenpeace director or active member who participated in those voyages John. You’re like a 20-year-old panhandler standing on the street corner begging for money and claiming to be a Vietnam veteran. You were not there John, so please refrain from using the word “we” in that context. It is annoying to us genuine veterans.
Anyhow John, perhaps you can pass this onto your gang in the streets collecting money for the whales. Tell them that no whales have been killed this season. Tell them that the supply lines to the whaling fleet have been cut. Tell them to hit the streets to spread the gospel John that Greenpeace is winning the whale wars with video games and origami whales, and that Sea Shepherd is just myth.