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Moderates Harpooned and Sinking At IWC Meeting in Rome

March 12, 2009

Moderates Harpooned and Sinking At IWC Meeting in Rome

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has said for years that nothing will be gained through diplomacy and appeasement with Japan.

This week, a special meeting of the International Whaling Committee ended without the Japanese retreating from their position by an inch.

The moderates, those NGO's and governments that condemn us for being too "radical," are losing the fight to defend the whales. The passion that the Japanese have to kill whales has not been equaled by the passion of those who profess to protect them. For twenty-three years all they have done is talk, posture, make promises and have meetings as the whales have died by the thousands.

They have shamefully and unforgivably failed.

Japan wants to slaughter whales, they want to kill endangered whales, and they want to kill endangered whales in established whale sanctuaries in violation of the global moratorium on whaling.

Since 1986, the Japanese whaling industry has been ignoring international conservation law and all of the efforts by governments and non-governmental organizations have not prevented them from killing whales where and when they want to kill them.

The Japanese whaling industry is unconcerned with international public opinion and unconcerned with the pleas by nations like Australia and New Zealand. Japan has the economic muscle to contemptuously spit in the face of people like Environment Minister Peter Garrett of Australia knowing that Peter Garrett will tolerate the insult because Australia does not want to risk losing their Japanese market for things like wood chips, uranium and iron ore.

Australia has been so humiliatingly compromised that they are now collecting evidence for the Japanese, such as when they recently raided our ship the Steve Irwin when we returned from opposing illegal Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean. Not only is Australia bending backwards to appease Japan, they are now openly assisting Japan's illegal activities.

And now the United States is trying to broker a deal that will not achieve anything except to legalize the activities that Japan is presently conducting illegally. If Japan is given the right to legally kill whales off their coast, then other nations, as Korea has already indicated, will demand the same right.

The governments of the conservation oriented members of the IWC have failed to enforce the regulations to protect the whales, have failed to protect the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary and have failed to enforce the moratorium on commercial whaling. Now they are seemingly prepared to throw in the towel and give Japan everything they want.

The only thing that the member nations of the IWC could agree on was to condemn the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for doing what they all have failed to do - actually save some whales.

Japan was allowed to show their edited tapes of the confrontation in the Southern Ocean without any input allowed by Sea Shepherd. The Japanese whalers accused Sea Shepherd of violently defending the whales while conveniently ignoring the fact that the whalers violently attacked the crew of the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin.

The IWC commission's chairman, Bill Hogarth, said he was heartened at the general commitment to work for a broad agreement. "We are not there yet, but we'll keep going and see what we can come up with," he said. Hogarth is the man who initiated the policy to appease Japan. This George W. Bush appointee has been kept on by President Barack Obama to carry through with the dismantling of the moratorium on whaling and to condemn the world's whales to cruel death and extermination by the bloody harpoons of the Japanese, Norwegians, Icelanders and Koreans. Hogarth wants to leave the resurrection of commercial whaling as his legacy and he is determined to achieve this at the IWC meeting in Madeira this coming June.

Former Australian Environment Minister Ian Campbell was the last true and strong official delegate to the IWC to defend the whales before the greedy demands of the Japanese whalers. Now that he has been replaced by Peter Garrett, the wind has gone from the sails of the conservationists and they are drifting impotently, awaiting total destruction by the harpoons being directed at them from Japan.

"This is the 21st century," said Captain Paul Watson. "The cruel slaughter and extermination of the whales has no place in this generation. We must be done with it and I swear that Sea Shepherd will never cease to oppose this slaughter with all the resources and resolve that we have. Perhaps we may have to lay down our lives to defend these gentle giants and if that is what it will take, then that is what we may have to do. I would rather die than see the vicious harpoons legally unleashed against these incredible sentient beings - the great whales. If there is anything worth dying for it is this, a far nobler calling than to die defending an oil well or a chunk or useless real estate."


 

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