Commentary by Paul Watson
Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Captain Paul Watson Replies to Gerd Leipold of Greenpeace
December 21, 2006
Gee, I must have struck a nerve, one of you actually decided to respond. For the last year, we have not existed as far as Greenpeace is concerned. I haven't received a single response until now. All of my polite requests were ignored but now that we have resigned ourselves to Greenpeace not being interested in cooperation and now that I've decided to expose the Greenpeace fraud of saving whales, now you reply with a letter that contains absolutely nothing of substance.
The fact is that I was very serious about working in cooperation with Greenpeace last year and the response that I received from both Shayne Rattenbury and John Bowler was insulting and rude.
After years of trying to work with Greenpeace, the lack of response has motivated me to question just what it is that you guys are trying to do and I really don't think you are serious about protecting whales at all. Your recent support for polar bear hunting and your refusal to oppose the slaughter of seals indicates that you have lost the original vision that we once had with Greenpeace.
You are wrong when you say I have no respect for Greenpeace. I have so much respect for Greenpeace that I am trying to return it to the original vision, and to be quite frank, I resent your attitude that the way things are presently, represent what Greenpeace is suppose to be. I am loyal to our original vision but your corporate hijacking of that vision is not something that I am loyal to.
Gerd, we are Greenpeace, so how can we have no respect for it. The truth is we have little respect for those who have co-opted our creation. Sea Shepherd contains more founding members of Greenpeace than Greenpeace. In fact I don't think you have one left do you? - all forced out, purged, and forgotten. But some of us are not so easily forgotten.
You may find my accusation that Greenpeace sabotaged our registration to be shocking but I have assurances that my accusation is accurate. How can you say that no Greenpeace representative has intervened, at any level? You have no control over what all your people do. John Frizell, for example, has many times tried to undermine Sea Shepherd campaigns. Your continuous accusations against Sea Shepherd of being violent are false and misleading statements and also endanger our lives because you generate fear among those we oppose.
I have no intention of withdrawing my accusation. I stand by my sources on this and I have absolutely no reason to doubt the accuracy of their report to me. It's not like this is the first time that Greenpeace has attempted to discredit us.
Why do you continue to beg for money to send ships down to the Southern Oceans when you have already raised enough money to send dozens of ships down there?
Your strategy has achieved nothing in twenty years? Admit it; you go down there to take films of whales dying to help further your fund-raising activities. You could have blocked the Nisshin Maru effectively with the Esperanza last year but you chose to do nothing but watch whales die. I'm sorry, but I find that unforgivable.
Cooperation between Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace would not be a distraction. Non-cooperation is a distraction. Unfortunately, I have come to realize that cooperation is not an objective to be achieved between Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace, so now there is no need for me to refrain from exposing the contradictions that I have witnessed over the last 30 years. In fact, I have decided to write a book about it to be entitled The Great Big Mean Green Machine. It's about time to expose the charade.
I've struck a chord with many people with this recent posting and I've been receiving positive feedback from many people who are as disenchanted with Greenpeace as I am.
By the way we don't want your assistance if we get in trouble; we wanted your cooperation to help defend the whales that are being killed. The whales are in trouble Gerd. What are you going to do with the tens of millions of dollars you raised to defend the whales? How could you refuse to assist us, to obstruct and intervene against illegal whaling, unless you are not serious about stopping these brutal whaling activities? You have already demonstrated that you have no intention of obstructing the whalers yourself choosing instead to "bear witness" and to "document" the slaughter. Way effective, eh!
Please do publish the letter in full your website. We will also publish this message of yours on our website in full. How about you publishing what I have to say on your website in full. Of course, you won't. You sounded like it was a threat for your statement to be published. I don't know why. You said nothing and I notice you did not deny my accusations of the amount of money you are raising over the whaling issue nor the fact that you actually do not oppose commercial whaling in principles and that you support the hunting of polar bears, the killing of seals, and the destruction of the Great Bear Forest. You won't be publishing any of this on your website will you?
You really don't understand the history of your organization and you don't seem to understand just what it was that we created over three decades ago. Greenpeace talks about promoting peace and cooperation in the world between nations, yet you can't even promote peace and cooperation within your own movement. You don't ignore people, sabotage their efforts, publicly condemn them, ridicule them, and expect them to go away quietly.
The passion that guided me to help establish Greenpeace in the first place still burns fiercely within me today and I will not continue to stomach your ocean-posing theatrics and your quest for money at the expense of the whales any longer.
If you thought I was critical and outspoken in the past, you have seen nothing yet.
Captain Paul Watson
Lifetime Greenpeace Membership number 007
From: Gerd Leipold
Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 2:08 AM
To: Paul Watson
Subject: Response to your public statements
In recent public statements, you indicate you have requested to cooperate with Greenpeace in the campaign to protect whales in the Southern Ocean. We do not consider this a serious request as your many previous statements about Greenpeace have shown that you have no respect for this organization, and do not shy away from making false statements about it and the people who work for it. This gives us no reason to trust you, and therefore no basis for us to cooperate with you. Our view has been reinforced by your most recent allegation that Greenpeace has sought to hinder the registration of your vessels. I find this a shocking allegation. No Greenpeace employee has intervened, at any level, with any authorities in relation to the registration of the Sea Shepherd vessels. Unless you can substantiate your allegation with the name of the person you claim did this, you should withdraw it immediately.
Greenpeace wants the moratorium on commercial whaling to be upheld and to see the end to the whaling. We are going to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to do what we can to ensure that happens and will use a range of peaceful means to defend the whales, including putting ourselves between the whale and the harpoon. We are also working at the highest political level to bring about change, we are working in Japan to shift public opinion, as well as with our millions of supporters worldwide to generate public pressure for change. We believe our strategy can bring about the change that is so badly needed.
It is clear from your postings that you think a different strategy is needed. Whatever your opinion, our focus is on stopping the whaling. We believe that making the relationship between Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd part of the media debate simply detracts from the real issue - whales are being killed in the Sanctuary. We have no desire or intention to detract from that central issue.
While we do not wish to proactively cooperate with you, I can assure you that should your crew or ship get into any difficulties while you are in the Southern Ocean, we will assist you if we are able, in the same way that we would assist any vessel in such circumstances.
I consider this communication to be a private one between us, but should you chose to publicly criticize us for not working with you or selectively publish any part of this letter, then we will publish it in full on our website in order to ensure the complete picture is presented.