Is Greenpeace scared or just simply tired of posturing in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary year after year?
I don't know the real reason that they decided to quit sending a ship and crew to oppose the Japanese whaling fleet. I do know that for ten solid months they have been knocking on doors, sending out millions of pieces of direct mail, financing a large advertising campaign and soliciting in the street in cities around the world, pleading, appealing and cajoling people to donate to Greenpeace to save the whales.
And the money has been rolling in. Greenpeace has collected millions of dollars to finance their campaign to defend the whales.
And now only two weeks before the scheduled departure of the Japanese whaling fleet, Greenpeace has announced that they will not be returning to the Southern Ocean.
Just last week, Steve Shallhorn speaking for Greenpeace Australia said that Greenpeace would be returning. At the same time, Japan announced they may be sending a Japanese Coast Guard gunboat to guard their whaling fleet.
Has Greenpeace been frightened off by the threat of a Japanese gunboat?
In a memo to their members, Greenpeace media spokesperson Sara Holden wrote, "We wanted to let you know, before we tell the press, that we will not be sending a ship to the whaling grounds in the Southern Ocean this year. Instead, we will be directing all of our efforts toward work IN JAPAN, where we believe whaling will be ended forever, and where two of our activists face prison for exposing corruption and scandal in the whaling industry."
Well Sara, that was not what you raised the money for and surely you have enough funds to do both.
And what makes you think that whaling will be ended by the Japanese. The Japanese government, the media and the people have not shown the least bit of interest in ending whaling. The whales don't have the time to wait for shifting Japanese public opinion. They are dying now!
No Sara, whaling will be ended by economic pressure, by making the whaling industry suffer losses over profits. They have reported losses over profits for three years and they are heavily into debt on subsidies to the Japanese government. We have them on the economic ropes and we need to keep hitting them, not retreating.
If Greenpeace thinks that they will convince the Japanese public to voluntarily end whaling than it will be a long protracted campaign. But then again maybe a long protracted campaign is better for on-going Greenpeace fund-raising efforts than ending whaling for good. It's hard to raise funds for a cause that has been won.
Sea Shepherd intends to shut down this criminal whaling operation and our strategy is simply to make sure that we negate their profits and increase their losses every year. Sending a gunboat down to defend the fleet is going to cost an estimated 8 million dollars.
I also do not understand what the jailing of Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki has to do with opposition to whaling. They were not jailed for opposing the whaling industry. They were charged with theft of private property.
Greenpeace accuses Sea Shepherd of being violent, even going so far as referring to us as eco-terrorists yet we have never injured a single person, we have never been convicted of a felony crime and we have never been sued. We also have never stolen property from the mail.
Yet Greenpeace is defending the stealing of private property from the mail in a campaign that made little sense. Greenpeace was trying to prove that some of the crew on the whaling ships were stealing whale meat for personal profit. Who cares? That's like asking the FBI to investigate members of the mafia for the benefit of the Godfather.
The entire Japanese whaling operation is a crime. It is not the business of Greenpeace to investigate internal domestic crimes against the whaling industry. Greenpeace should be focusing on addressing the crimes the Japanese are inflicting on the whales and the environment.
Greenpeace is saying that they want to focus on defending the two Greenpeace Japan men who have been charged. Well, they certainly have the funds to do that and plenty left over to send a ship to the Southern Ocean also. After all sending the ship is what they raised the money to do in the first place.
Greenpeace keeps insisting that Sato and Suzuki were jailed for criticizing the whale slaughter and for exposing a corruption scandal. Yet no corruption charges have been filed and the bottom line is that they were both arrested for stealing property from the mail. This does not qualify a person to be designated as a "political prisoner."
Greenpeace is now going to campaign to have the men declared victims of political censorship. This is absurd. The charge is theft, plain and simple and has absolutely nothing to do with being opposed to whaling.
Greenpeace says that the fight should be in Japan. Sea Shepherd has opposed the slaughter of dolphins on the beaches at Taiji since 2003. We have freed animals from nets and we have been arrested. When we did so, Greenpeace actually condemned us for cutting the nets, saying that we acted violently and destroyed property when fifteen dolphins were freed and saved.
In other words cutting nets to save the lives of dolphins is not acceptable but stealing property from the mail to expose petty theft by Japanese whalers is okay.
And it is also interesting that Greenpeace has not said a word of criticism against the slaughter of over 20,000 dolphins a year and they have not opposed it. One person from Greenpeace Japan told us that speaking out against it would be offensive to many Japanese people.
So what is it that Greenpeace is trying to accomplish?
They have the ships, they have the crew and they certainly have the money.
Last season when the Greenpeace ship Esperanza returned to refuel they said they could not afford to go back again and called it quits. They had their photo-op and that was what they came for.
They had 18 million dollars in their Australian bank account alone yet they claimed they could not afford the fuel to return.
The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin came back with an empty tank to an empty bank account yet in two weeks we were able to scrape the funds together to refuel and to return.
Why is it that Sea Shepherd can be effective with very little funding and with volunteers yet Greenpeace could not return with superior funding and a highly paid crew?
Back in February of 2007, when the Sea Shepherd ship Robert Hunter was chasing the Esperanza through heavy fog thinking it may be a whaler, a BBC reporter asked the Greenpeace captain why he would not simply let Sea Shepherd know who they were in order to save fuel for Sea Shepherd.
He replied, "I have nothing to say to those f***k**rs."
In the documentary Battleship Antarctica you can hear Emily Hunter's voice come through over the radio on the Bridge of the Esperanza."Esperanza, Esperanza, this is Emily Hunter, the daughter of Greenpeace founder and first Greenpeace President Robert Hunter. I am proud to be on this ship that bears my father's name and all I have to say to you is "you are all a sham."