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Monday, June 21, 2010

Day One: Partying on tax payers money

Laurens de Groot reports from the IWC in Agadir, Morocco

I’m not sure if everybody knows that the IWC delegates here in Agadir are being paid by public tax money. Whether you are or not, sit ready and see how it is spent.

Today at the opening day of the annual meeting of the IWC the commission gathered together and just after they had their coffees and watched a performance by traditional Moroccan dancers the chairman took the microphone.

Did he speak out hope for the whales? Pfff, yeah right. The chairman is Antiguan ambassador Anthony Liverpool, who according to the Sunday Times has his £4000 hotel bill paid by Japan Tours and Travel Inc, a company based in Houston, Texas, which is linked to the Houston-based Japanese businessman Hideuki “Harry” Wakasa. So of course he wasn’t going to speak for the whales, instead he suspended regular sessions and called for two days of closed bilateral meetings to see whether a compromise is possible.  A compromise on allowing whaling that is.

I was standing outside, as Sea Shepherd has been banned from these corrupt IWC meetings, but I’d swear I heard a cry of excitement coming out of the meeting room. Great news for the delegates, two days of doing basically nothing on tax money equals two days of partying with the bribing Japanese delegates, and they like to shower gifts on the other delegates as we know. Rumour has it that Google was overloaded with “Agadir Hooker” request just minutes after the suspension…..

How did the NGO’s react? WWF and Greenpeace were furious:  now they had to wait another two days to show their insane proposal to the world. The proposal in question is one that would allow commercial whaling, an unbelievable deathblow to the whales.

Statement by Wendy Elliott, Species Manager at WWF International: “The unprecedented decision to start discussions at this year’s IWC behind closed doors is fundamentally unacceptable. The issues discussed at the IWC are of enormous public interest. We already had two years of closed doors negotiations leading up to this point, and now is the moment to open up a transparent and honest discussion. This could be the most important meeting for the IWC since the moratorium was agreed to in 1982 and the decision to exclude the civil society and media is a scandal.”

Transparent and honest, the IWC? Poor Wendy, I agree with you, but please wake up.  I bet the Japan delegates, boozing and frolicking through the Arabic nights for the next two days, will have a good laugh over your statement while they raise their glasses with Anthony Liverpool and the other whale traitors. At least now you know what it feels like, the gentle giants of the sea are not the only ones to be screwed over, but for the whales it is fatal.