Japan uses Sea Shepherd to Deflect Corruption Charges at IWC Meeting
Just like last year, the Japanese whaling delegation introduced a dog and pony PowerPoint show to the delegates of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). It was called ‘Safety at Sea.’ Of course, Japan should very well be concerned about safety at sea, considering that during the time their illegal fleets have operated in the Southern Ocean, they have suffered three fatalities, numerous injuries, an oil spill, and two catastrophic fires. However, this PowerPoint show focuses exclusively on presenting video content from Sea Shepherd’s television series as well as their own cameras, and is about Sea Shepherd’s interventions against their illegal whaling operations. The show comes complete with a soundtrack of statements including, “Mayday, Godzilla is attacking us, Godzilla is attacking us.”
There are plenty of paintball, stink bomb, and water cannon drama, but at the end of the day, the fact remains that Sea Shepherd did not injure a single whaler as evidenced by their own video content. What Sea Shepherd did do was send the entire Japanese whaling fleet home with their tail between their legs, and we did so a full month and a half early with them only taking 17 percent of their self-imposed kill quota.
Other delegates from the IWC, notably the United States, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand, keep telling Japan that the IWC is not the proper forum for such nonsense, and their complaints should be taken to the International Maritime Authority (IMO). But the real reason that Japan is spending so much time on this issue is not because they believe they will achieve any penalizing decisions against Sea Shepherd, but because they are filibustering or deflecting time away from the primary agenda item – Great Britain’s proposal to investigate bribery and corruption within the IWC.
It appears that numerous Caribbean and African nations, who conveniently vote pro-whaling with Japan in return for foreign aid, are in hot water. Not because of foreign aid; everyone already knows that Japan has a history of trading foreign aid for votes. The problem is that the corruption is much more sleazy than that, with delegates of these for-sale-nations now pocketing sizable percentages of cash donations into their own greedy pockets.
Apparently, every year these delegates simply take some 80 percent of the funds received for their IWC so-called expenses and commandeer them for personal use. In addition, Japan has paid for their luxury hotel rooms, business or first class airfares, and very expensive meals, not to mention the providing of comfort girls to help the delegates ‘relax.’ All of these allegations were made public in the British media last year, and this year, the British delegation decided to ask some serious questions about it all.
What is emerging is that the IWC is becoming one of the most corrupt international regulatory agencies in the world. This is added to the fact that it is also one of the most ineffective and toothless regulatory agencies in the world.
The IWC seemingly does nothing, regulates nothing, and enforces nothing. The meetings are now just lots and lots of posturing and posing, and have become the venue for distracting, political circuses like Japan’s efforts to demonize Sea Shepherd in a forum where Sea Shepherd is not allowed to defend itself since Sea Shepherd is banned from attending the IWC conferences since 1987. Meanwhile, Sea Shepherd remains the only non-governmental organization that actually intervenes in Japan’s illegal actions as they seek to uphold IWC regulations. For years now, Sea Shepherd have been the only organization to physically and effectively reduce Japan’s illegal kill quotas. It is therefore beyond hypocritical that Sea Shepherd is also the only organization not allowed to attend the IWC meetings.
And just when Sea Shepherd thought the IWC has reached a maximum level of ludicrousness, now Sea Shepherd isn’t even allowed to enter the hotel where the meeting is held. Sea Shepherd is also aware that members from any other organization seen in the company of their supporters is also barred from attending the meeting, causing representatives from Greenpeace, EIA, and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society to go scurrying away for fear that the whalers will catch them hanging out with ‘high seas pirates.’ It seems Sea Shepherd has become the ladies of the evening of this movement. Sea Shepherd’s allies agree with them, and many even support them, but they are petrified of being seen with them in the light of day.
Despite this, Sea Shepherd has fielded more members and seen more supporters on the frontlines of the IWC this year than all other non-governmental organizations combined. People are proclaiming that ‘if it takes pirates to save the whales, then we will be pirates.’
Sea Shepherd would not have it any other way, because when all is said and done, after all of the posturing and posing, feigned indignations and histrionics, being shunned and barred, ostracized and ridiculed, the bottom line is Sea Shepherd saves the lives of whales and every year they save more than the year before. If the illegal Japanese whalers return to the Southern Ocean in December, Sea Shepherd will be there stronger than ever with Operation Divine Wind. Sea Shepherd will drive the whalers from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary once again no matter what they do to try and stop the world’s most aggressive and determined marine wildlife conservation organization.
Enough is enough, and the horrific barbarism and abject cruelty of the slaughter of the great and gentle whales must be ended. And take note: it will not be ended by playing nice with their killers and following the rules. It will be ended by speaking the only language these cetacean serial killers understand – economics, profit and loss, and the financial bottom-line. Sea Shepherd’s objective is to sink the Japanese whaling fleet economically and bankrupt their illegal activities. Sea Shepherd crewmembers will do just that with the imagination, courage, and passion of our courageous band of international volunteers. Tora, Tora, Tora! There will be no retreat or surrender until whaling is ended forever!