|Friday, June 27, 2008|
IWC Wipes Out In ChileCommentary by Captain Paul Watson
Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Whales Weep to Witness No Win for Whalers or Whales,
Report on the 60th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission
It has been a very strange week at the Sheraton Hotel in Santiago where 72 of the 81 nation members of the International Whaling Commission have been meeting all week to essentially not resolve anything at all.
The amount of carbon expended on airfares alone without any results to show for it is a crime in itself.
Japan has had the IWC in a stranglehold for two decades as this criminal whaling nation continues to violate IWC regulations, continues to bribe nations to support their positions and continues to pontificate on their eco-imperialist campaign to slaughter the world's whales in complete disregard for the concerns of the civilized world.
Outside the hotel young Chileans demonstrate, lock themselves to the hotel door and are routinely arrested while most of the delegates are completely oblivious to their actions. The IWC delegates seem to exist in a fantasy world of their own creation where they are bending over backwards to be polite to each other as Japan manipulates the agenda so that nothing can, or is being done at all to end their high seas serial killing spree against the Cetacean Nations. They talk using the maximum number of words to essentially say nothing at all.
The IWC is not even voting on anything this year. Japan reasons that if there are no votes than they won't have to return to Japan having lost any of the resolutions. So the delegates decided to an informal agreement to not vote on any controversial issues and to avoid any confrontations. It's a strange way to resolve conflicts and an even stranger way to enforce the regulations of the IWC. Not one of these losers wants to appear to be a loser. They would rather that the whales lose their lives to the outlaw harpoons. So for the first time the annual verbal slug fest became a love fest with everyone pretending to respect each other's positions or as Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd recently said to Japan's Prime Minister Fukuda, "we have agreed to disagree."
Denmark however decided to force a vote on their proposal to slaughter more endangered Humpbacks in Greenland in addition to the whales they already kill, despite the European Community's adamant (and except for Denmark,) unanimous decision to stand strong for the whales. Denmark's proposal was quickly shot down with evidence that their so-called indigenous slaughter of whales is in fact a commercial operation. The Danes with less political savvy than the Japanese were defeated 36 to 29 although the USA voted for the deaths of the Humpbacks probably in deference to the desires of the Makah Indians of Washington State to resume the murder of the whales.
What sums up the hypocrisy and the ineffectiveness of the IWC for me is that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is the only organization that upholds the regulations of the IWC and we are the only organization that is banned from attending the IWC yet Japan, Norway and Iceland blatantly violate the rulings with contempt yet are never admonished for doing so and are allowed to perpetuate their whaling crimes year after year in the name of their bogus research. The real research that Japan is undertaking is to determine the limits of Japanese bullshit that the other member nations can swallow.
The only real voice for the whales is coming, as usual, from individuals and small organizations. Skye Bortoli with Teens Against Whaling although only 15 years old has had security agents stalking her every move. Hannah a professional mermaid baffled the security when she attended a media conference wearing her tail. They detailed extra men to surround the swimming pool to ensure she did not get close enough to dive in. Apparently the image of a mermaid protesting the killing of whales from the middle of the pool had spooked the Japanese. It was probably for the best for Hannah, she may have been harpooned. The Japanese seem to be possessed with killing any intelligent aquatic citizen with a tail fluke.
At high noon on the last day of the conference, four Chilean protestors jumped out of a cab and stormed the door of the hotel bringing their very vocal protests directly to the lobby of the Sheraton for the first time. The Chilean police quickly removed them and hauled them off in handcuffs. What a difference it would make if even a small fraction of the passion that we see on the outside of the hotel could be brought inside the doors to challenge the Japanese killers on the floor.
The Chileans have displayed a strong show of support for the whales ranging from in the street protests to the declaration by President Michelle Bachelet of the establishment of the Chilean Whale Sanctuary to protect all whales in the Chilean Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ).
The Chilean surfing community has been very high profile in their support for the whales and Chile's top surfer Ramon Navarro attended the demonstrations for the whales and voiced his strong support for the actions of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Dave Rastovich had come from Australia to rally the Chilean surfing community and has taken the leading rope in recruiting surfers to the defense of the dolphins and the whales.
Howie Cooke also came from Australia as an artist opposed to whaling, and Kylie Heard from Sea Shepherd Australia flew at her own cost to Santiago to deliver 5,000 photos for the visual petition. In total some 15,000 photos were emblazoned on the banners of the visual petition.
Japan once again called for the condemnation of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for our interventions against their illegal whaling operations. Brazil, the USA, the Netherlands, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia responded with statements that did not say much at all except that they were opposed to "violence and unlawful acts" at sea.
The Institute of Cetacean Research circulated a paper and a media release entitled
Decisive Action Required to Protect Seafarers.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is also opposed to violence and unlawful acts at sea, especially the violence of the whalers against our crews and especially against the whales so we agreed that violent actions at sea should be stopped - by the Japanese who fire guns, hurl concussion grenades and ram our ships.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society by contrast has not used firearms, has not injured any person and has never rammed a Japanese whaling ship. The most "violent" thing we've done is to save the lives of over a thousand whales by aggressively but non-violently intervening against the violent and illegal killing of whales by the Japanese whalers.
None of the nations defending the whales have indicated that they take Japan's "call to action" seriously.
"We take it as a somewhat amusing joke," said one official delegate. "You can't quote me on this using my name but quite frankly, the Japanese are full of crap and they are not fooling anyone."
This annual whaling commission charade has been going on for 60 years and has become a regular vacation opportunity for many of the delegates, especially the nations that have sold their vote to Japan. They get to travel to a different location each year, stay at five star hotels, eat expensive meals and all they have to do is to pretend they are making a difference. Japan pays all the expenses - it's a great gig if you're a politicians from some puny nation that has never even see a whale and wouldn't recognize one if they did. But hey, Chilean wine is superb and the Chilean farm raised salmon is something to literally die for. A little mercury never hurt anyone, just ask the brain damaged citizens of Taiji where mercury has made swiss cheese of their grey matter.
The only serious suggestion with any merit to emerge from this year's meeting came from former Australian Environment Minister Ian Campbell who said that it is ridiculous for the "Japanese to be calling for the "normalization" of what has become a very abnormal organization. All we need to do is to drop the "ing" from the International Whal(ing) Commission and convert it into what it should naturally evolve to be - a whale conservation organization."
"I was once an activist Environmental Minister," said the Honourable Mr. Campbell. "Now I am just an activist."
So with nothing much worthwhile accomplished the delegates are already thinking of the sunny beaches and excellent wine of the Portuguese island of Madeira where the 61st meeting of the IWC is scheduled for 2009.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society intends to return to the IWC again with even more victories at sea and lives saved from the ruthless killers of the most gentle, intelligent and socially complex sentient beings in the sea.
Between now and then we intend to rock the boat and battle it out like samurai in the most remote and harsh waters on the planet with an international crew of volunteers ready and willing to risk their lives in Operation Musashi to defend endangered whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
We intend to stop them!
Looney Highlights of the 60th Anniversary of the IWC
Russian Commissioner Fails History in Defense of Bogus Science
The Caribbean Drama Queen
St. Kitts responded to the European Union's opposition for Greenland to kill endangered Humpbacks by charging that this was an attempt by a small group of nations, trying to be world leaders, who were denying marginal people the right to eat though a "blatant act of aggression".
Of course the European nations are already world leaders whereas St. Kitt's certainly is not although they act like they are, and Greenland being part of Denmark a socialist state, means that no one will be starving because they can't harpoon a Humpback for the Japanese market.