Commentary by Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
It is time for the government of Australia to act responsibly in the Australian Antarctic Territory.
Australia needs to send a naval ship to keep the peace and to observe for themselves what is going on down in the Southern Ocean instead of believing every lie that Japan fabricates to defend their bogus research commercial whaling operations.
The Japanese whaling fleet is in flagrant violation of numerous international and Australian laws by killing whales off the coast of Antarctica in waters claimed by Australia.
The Japanese have rammed a Greenpeace ship and attempted to ram my ship the Farley Mowat on Christmas day.
Prime Minister John Howard said that at a recent meeting with Japanese Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi that, "I do not support action which endangers lives or breaks the law."
He was referring to those of us defending the whales when in reality it is the Japanese breaking the laws and endangering human life and inhumanely killing whales.
When I warned that the Japanese were armed and were planning to damage our ship, Environment Minister Ian Campbell spun the story to suggest that it was the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society that were the bad guys and said, "There appears to be a prima facie case that they may be setting out to break the law."
He has asked the Ministry of Justice to investigate Sea Shepherd yet Japan is openly breaking Australian law without any action by Australia.
What is curious about this is that Campbell is acknowledging that Australia has the right to investigate and lay charges against a Canadian flag vessel and non-Australian citizens over a Japanese complaint coming from the Australia Antarctic Territory. Yet he claims that Australian has no right to enforce conservation laws against Japan.
Australia must send a Naval vessel down here to see what is going on and to keep the peace. What if the Japanese kill or injure one or more of the whale defenders? Will Australia intervene then or will they intervene to appease Japan by arresting those defending the whalers?
This is a highly dangerous situation down here. Volunteers from around the world are here to do the job that the world's governments should be doing. The Japanese are aggressive, violent, and arrogant. The whale defenders are determined, courageous, and bold. This is a recipe for disaster, Mr. John Howard and Mr. Ian Campbell.
You will not be very popular if the Japanese kill one of us because Australia did nothing to keep the peace.
The government says that the Japanese do not recognize the Australian claim to the Antarctic treaty. In 1942, they did not recognize Australia's claim to Australia. Australians fought them and won, yet today's leaders bow and surrender to Japan.
Japanese money has succeeded today, where Japanese military might failed in the past.
We, who Howard and Campbell consider the bad guys, are asking for the Navy to sail south to protect the lives of whales and people. If our intentions were criminal, would we be requesting the Navy?
Send the Navy to keep the peace. That is the responsible thing to do. If Australia has eyes down here, Australia will have the facts and then the Australian government can stop acting like a public relations firm hired by Tokyo.
Captain Paul Watson is the Master of the Farley Mowat, the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977 and co-founder of the Greenpeace Foundation in 1972.