|Tuesday, February 05, 2008|
The Other Whaling Industry
Cashing in on the Suffering and Death of the Great WhalesCommentary by Captain Paul Watson
On Board the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin
As the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society struggles to borrow and raise enough funds to return to the Southern Ocean, we feel incredibly frustrated by the fact that tens of millions of dollars have already been raised to defend the whales yet this money is not being spent for that purpose and it will not help put fuel in our tanks to resume our defense of the whales.
Enough is enough. The Greenpeace fraud about saving the whales must be exposed. For years, I have been tolerating their pretense of action and watching them turn their ocean posing photo ops into tremendous profits from whaling. And now they say they can't return to the Southern Oceans with their ship the Esperanza because they don't have the budget for it and because they are going to direct their energies into lobbying for change inside Japan.
Yet they still continue to collect money to save the whales. Greenpeace has booked all online advertising in the major Australian and New Zealand newspapers. Their ads are splashed across the internet from Google to MySpace. Send money, send more money. Television ads, millions of pieces of direct mail.
Greenpeace International raised 127 Million Euros last year. Greenpeace Australia has about 18 million dollars in the bank. Greenpeace USA sits on tens of millions of dollars. Yet they claim they do not have the budget to return to the Southern Oceans yet they also claim they stopped the whalers for two weeks in January, and if such a claim is true then they should go back and stop them again.
But they will not. They have surrendered the Whale Sanctuary to the whalers yet the ads keep popping up and the contributions keep flowing into the Greenpeace coffers. It is incredibly frustrating to see stories about Sea Shepherd's successful interventions against illegal Japanese whaling usually sprinkled with criticisms by Greenpeace about our methods. And right beside these articles pops up an ad asking the public to send money to support Greenpeace. Even if Sea Shepherd wanted to invest in these ads, we cannot because Greenpeace has booked all the ad space for three months.
Greenpeace makes more money from anti-whaling than Norway and Iceland combined make from whaling. In both cases, the whales die and someone profits. We continue to receive reports from people who have received highly emotional appeals from Greenpeace for money to save the whales including appeals to help refuel their ship.
This is simply out and out fraud.
Greenpeace ocean campaigners, are begging for money saying they will be fighting to help the whales escape and they claim that for every dollar donated they will be able to stay out another hour, another day, or another week "saving" whales. Their success will depend on YOU sending a donation NOW. Of course the word success means something different to Greenpeace. The Greenpeace campaign is not stopping whaling ships. Success to Greenpeace is about recruiting memberships and raising money.
What the fund-raising appeals do not say is that Greenpeace has already raised tens of millions of dollars this year to "save" the whales, and tens of millions of dollars the year before, and the year before that. In fact, Greenpeace has raised a mind-boggling hundreds of millions of dollars pretending to save whales over the years and yet they have not stopped the Japanese from killing whales.
Last year Nathan Santray described himself as the Action Director for Greenpeace. He reported that he was instrumental in saving the whales and that he would be heading back to the Southern Oceans to defend the whales again. BUT he can't do it without your support so please send him a donation right away. They absolutely must raise $50,000 by the end of the year.
What he did not say was that Greenpeace raises more than $50,000 in donations every day. But Nathan assured us that he would be there "fighting to save every whale we can and we urgently need your help."
Nathan and his crewmates maneuvered their little rubber Greenpeace boats into the path of the fire hoses where they were filmed being "attacked" with high power hoses. They did that for hours and it looked very dramatic. But it was all just ocean posing. My crew quite easily avoided the fire hoses. In fact, the only way they could have been hit would have been to steer directly into the path of the water. The Japanese whalers stupidly participated in the charade not realizing that they were playing right into Greenpeace's hands. They haven't realized yet that the best tactic to deploy against Greenpeace is to simply ignore them because they are harmless.
The Greenpeace pleas state that, "only Greenpeace stands between the harpoons and the whales." And "Greenpeace is the only hope for the whales." This, of course, is a direct slap in the face to my international volunteers who have been actually physically intervening against illegal Japanese whaling. Unlike the paid Greenpeace crew, the Sea Shepherd volunteers did not go down to the Southern Oceans to take pictures of whales dying, they went down to there to stop illegal whaling activities.
Greenpeace simply ignores the efforts of other groups opposing whaling including Sea Shepherd, the only organization to have actually shut down whaling operations. The fact that Sea Shepherd chased the Japanese whalers away last year while Greenpeace was filming the whales dying seems to have been forgotten. That was where Greenpeace turned off their cameras.
This year's annual appeal to save whales by Greenpeace is just the latest public relations strategy in a global campaign to fleece money from people of good conscience. The Greenpeace Foundation, of which I was a co-founder back in 1972, is today simply a multi-million dollar feel-good organization. They are selling the illusion of making a difference to a gullible public.
Greenpeace is a major international corporation. Over the years, those of us who envisioned and founded Greenpeace way back when, have watched in frustration and anger as faceless bureaucrats turned ideals into profits, secure in their understanding that the media myth of Greenpeace cannot be tarnished irreparably within the mass media culture. For every person who gets wise to their scam, two more are recruited. Greenpeace is a massive direct mail publicity machine utilizing media and psychology to part people from their money.
Together many of us from the early days feel like modern-day Dr. Frankensteins. We created a large green corporate monster that has forgotten where it came from and is now busy feeding frantically at the trough of public guilt. Greenpeace has become the world's largest multinational "feel-good" corporation. People join to feel that they are a part of the solution and not part of the problem. So Greenpeace hangs banners, calls boycotts, knocks on doors, and sends out direct mail solicitations. Consequently, they haul in tons of cash, supporting an army of eco-bureaucrats and fueling a global public relations campaign which postures on the myth that Greenpeace is saving the world.
Greenpeace is posing and marketing the illusion of saving the planet and they have an army of gullible volunteers and paid canvassers who have been talked into believing that Greenpeace is really, really saving the environment and saving whales in particular. When I left Greenpeace in 1977, I could have set up another knock-on-the-door-direct-mail- telephone-soliciting group to chase the green dollars. The problem is that I left Greenpeace to actually do something and that meant taking to the high seas to directly intervene against the slaughter of whales and the destruction of the ocean. The last time I saw a whale die in agony before my eyes was on my last Greenpeace whale campaign in 1976. When Sea Shepherd shows up, the killing stops and the whalers run. We don't look for photo opportunities; we look for opportunities to shut down illegal whaling operations. We have shut down whaling ships permanently in Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Iceland, and Norway. We've sunk nine of them without injuring anyone and without being convicted of a single felony. The reason is that our targets are criminal operations.
Greenpeace does not even oppose whaling. These are actual quotes from Greenpeace spokespersons: "Greenpeace is not opposed to whaling in principle."
- John Frizell, Director of Greenpeace International. From the Greenpeace Policy Paper 1994. "As a natural scientist I cannot accept that Greenpeace is opposed to whaling. One must be allowed to harvest a renewable resource. To me, this is an important principle."
- Leif Ryvarden, former Chairman of Greenpeace Norway. From an interview with Dagbladet, August 2, 1991 "The 1993 Minke whale harvest did not constitute a threat to the stock."
- Ingrid Bertinussen, Greenpeace Norway Director. From an interview on Norwegian radio (NRK), October 22, 1993 "The Norwegian catch is not a threat to the Minke whale stock,"
- Kalle Hesstvedt of Greenpeace Norway in a remarkable interview with the Norwegian newspaper, "Nordlys" on May 21. Hesstvedt does not rule out the possibility that Greenpeace might accept commercial whaling when catch quotas are allocated by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). He repeated the statement on Norwegian radio (NRK) on the same day.
In 1997, I had Greenpeace investigated by the National Marine Fisheries Service of the United States for participating in a whale hunt. Greenpeace crew on the Arctic Sunrise actually towed a slaughtered bowhead whale to shore as a favour for the Inupiat whalers in the Bering Sea. In doing so, they violated both U.S. and international law. The incident was reported widely in the Alaskan media and the whalers used the incident to ridicule Greenpeace at the 1997 International Whaling Commission meeting in Monaco.
And it is not just whales that Greenpeace is betraying. Melanie Duchin of Greenpeace Alaska who also sent out a personal appeal to raise money to "save" the whales said last year that Greenpeace is not opposed to the hunting of polar bears. She was quoted in the Alaskan media as saying, "If the species of certain populations against the backdrop of global warming can sustain a commercial hunt, than we're not going to oppose it."
And Greenpeace raises millions of dollars from people concerned about the cruel slaughter of seals in Canada, yet Greenpeace has not opposed the Canadian seal hunt in more than two decades. The official Greenpeace position on the harp seal slaughter, the largest massacre of marine mammals on the planet is that the hunt is "sustainable."
There are many who lament that it is a sad thing that different groups cannot work together. Sad though it might be, it is a fact. The objectives of an organization with highly paid executives is far different from an organization of volunteers. We have different objectives. While we look for whaling ships, Greenpeace looks for memberships.
Nonetheless, I have approached Greenpeace for years with offers to work in cooperation with them. They responded with insults or simply ignored us. They even tried to deny that I was a co-founder of their own organization.
A volunteer organization like Sea Shepherd is in business to put ourselves out of business. A large eco-corporation like Greenpeace is in business to keep itself in business, and whaling, sealing, over-fishing, global warming, and other assorted issues are simply the raw material that Greenpeace uses to turn people's concerns into profits.
I know that I am taking a risk in publicly exposing Greenpeace as a fraud. I know it shatters people's illusions, but some illusions need shattering. The real strength of the environmental and conservation movements lies in the diversity of individual activists and small grassroots organizations that large corporate organizations like Greenpeace parasitically rob energy and support from.
In my opinion, it is completely immoral for organizations to be paying six-figure salaries to desk-bound bureaucrats sitting in multi-million dollar office buildings as real, dedicated activists struggle in the field to rescue injured animals or to try and stop the horrific slaughter of seals, dolphins and whales. This entire movement is held up on the blood, sweat, and tears of tens of thousands of individuals struggling for ecological justice with minimal resources while a small, elite group skims the vast amounts of money from the public purse to be spent on large salaries, public relations posturing, and fund-raising.
It's obscene, and it is high time that people woke up and saw Greenpeace for what it really is - a high-powered public relation machines designed to fleece the public. Greenpeace has secured their story and photos for this year. No need for them to return. It would not be a cost effective strategy for them to do so. They will accuse us of being eco-terrorists for intervening to defend the whales as they continue to spend mega-bucks on TV ads, direct mail appeals, and internet banner advertising. All this as the whales continued to die in horrific agony, choking on their own blood as Greenpeace cameramen record every emotional tear-jerking moment to beam back to the head office to aid in the never-ending quest for money, money, and more money.
And to add insult to injury - when Sea Shepherd returns, every news story that gets posted online will be accompanied by Greenpeace ads asking for money. Why return to the Southern Oceans when Sea Shepherd will be available to generate stories to keep the online ads popping up.
As the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin prepares to return to the Southern Ocean alone to resume the pursuit of the Japanese whaling fleet, Greenpeace will be making trips to the bank to deposit millions of dollars raised under the false pretense of saving whales. It is obscene, fraudulent and scandalous. Yet as long as whaling continues Greenpeace will continue to milk the issue as a cash cow.
All the more reason for Sea Shepherd to shut down the Antarctic whaling operation. We need to put the whalers out of business and we need to put the people profiting from whaling out of business also.