President and Founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Captain Paul Watson sent this letter to Senator Ian Campbell by fax today:
Dear Senator Campbell,
I see from the news today that you are condemning us once again for our "foolhardy" tactics.
I have given you my assurances that we will not injure anyone and our record over the last 30 years is unblemished in this regard. You should have no reason to doubt me.
As for putting the cause of whale conservation backwards: I have spent forty years protecting whales and I see no evidence that our activities will cause any more damage than that of governmental inaction.
Australia speaks up for the whales, and I really do appreciate this, but words will not stop illegal Japanese whaling activities.
As for being non-violent, there is a difference between violence and aggressive tactics.
We have a gift from the Dalai Lama on our bridge. It is an icon named "Hayagriva" and it stands for the compassionate aspect of Buddha's wrath. The Dalai Lama explained the meaning to me himself when he said, "You never want to hurt anyone, but sometimes when they cannot see enlightenment, you scare the hell out of them until they do."
Senator Campbell, I do appreciate your concern for human life. I share your concern. The risk down here is not against the lives of the whalers but our lives. The Japanese have threatened us.
All of the violence down here in these waters is instigated by the Japanese whalers. Thousands of gallons of blood are being spilled into the waters off the coast of Antarctica. Great whales are dying in abject agony from the merciless harpoons of the Japanese whalers. The cold air of the Ross Sea echoes with the screams of the whales. The cruelty is unimaginable and the slaughter is remorseless.
Yes, there is plenty of violence down here but it does not originate with us.
Senator Campbell, please answer this question for me: How do you justify Australia's heavy-handed interception of Indonesian poachers, and especially Uruguayan toothfish poachers, in the Australia Economic Exclusion Zones (EEZ) yet you turn a blind eye to the equally illegal activities of the Japanese whalers in the Australian EEZ? Why is there one law for poor countries and another for wealthy nations? Why is Australian government violence okay when practiced against Indonesians, but intervention against Japanese poachers is not even considered? In other words, why does the Australian government have a policy on whaling that is hypocritical and effectively impotent?
Your blessing of Greenpeace activities is interesting. So, Greenpeace is now officially government approved. I'm not surprised - governmental approval is not hard to come by if one does little but posture and talk. While we are down here in Antarctic waters looking for whaling ships, the Greenpeace ship is at berth in New Zealand looking for memberships.
How many more snuff films do we need, Senator Campbell? The Greenpeace internet campaign to win the hearts and minds of the Japanese is ridiculous and will not bear fruit. They have the ability to catch and obstruct the whalers, but they choose not to do so. Ending whaling could be bad for their business.
You say that our tactics will bring the whale conservation movement into disrepute? With all due respect, Senator, it cannot be in more disrepute than it is now.
What we have are large so-called conservation organizations raising vast sums of money to protect whales although they are doing very little to actually protect them except to ask for more money. In total, these groups raise more money from "saving" whales than the Japanese make from killing them. All they have to show for it is images of whales dying and protesters hanging banners and posing heroically for the cameras.
What we have are governments like yours saying that the whales must be protected but very little is being done to actually protect them.
Nothing brings disrepute to a cause more than financial exploitation and non-action.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society may be radical in your eyes and pirates in the eyes of the whalers, but I can assure you, Sir, that there is no group of people on this planet more dedicated to the defense of the whales than we are. Unlike the Greenpeace crews, we are not paid to be down here. Unlike the Greenpeace crews, we are actually down here now. Unlike the Greenpeace organization, we are not spending millions on advertisements and direct mail and door-to-door solicitations to fill the corporate coffers. We had to borrow money to get our second ship.
Every Sea Shepherd volunteer is asked if they are willing to risk their lives for the whales and only those who answer in the affirmative may join the crew.
The only thing these whale killing thugs understand is enforcement.
We are not acting rashly. We are down here in these waters acting in accordance with the principles established by the United Nations World Charter for Nature.
Your government should be down here with us, or better yet, your government should be down here instead of us. These whales are not the property of Japan to slaughter at will.
I have assured you that Japanese lives are safe from us. We are not killers, Senator Campbell. Our mission, for three decades, has been the saving of lives. In fact, we are all vegetarians on this ship, Sir.
But, because of inaction on the part of your government, lives other than whale lives may indeed be lost because you have given moral encouragement to the Japanese to be as aggressive as they so desire with us.
Must we die down here, Senator Campbell, in order for the world to take action against these criminals? Must I sacrifice my life, and if I do so, can I expect you to make the comment that I have hurt the cause of whale conservation? Will my death bring the cause of whale conservation into disrepute?
We are a pirate ship now, Senator Campbell. You could come down here and arrest us. But you won't, because if you did, you would be demonstrating that you do have the authority to intervene. We recognize your authority but the Japanese do not.
If you really are concerned about the protection of human life, Senator Campbell, then come down here with your navy and stop us, if you refuse to stop the Japanese.
Show the world what side you are really on. There are only two sides down here in these hostile waters. You either stand with the whales or you stand with their killers. And since the killers are your trading partners, there is no doubt where you actually stand.
Send your Navy down here and choose which side you are on, Senator Campbell. I will not resist you.
But nothing will stop us in our quest to end this bloody slaughter and if we must lose our ships, our freedom, or our lives, we will fight for the side we have chosen.
We fight for the whales, for the oceans, and for the future, Senator Campbell.
And if our passion and our compassion sets your "movement" backwards and into "disrepute," then I'm sure the whales won't care, Sir.
They will be dead.
Captain Paul Watson
Founder and President - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Co-Founder - The Greenpeace Foundation
Please visit our Operation Leviathan campaign pages for more information about our mission to save the whales of the Antarctic!