Message to Greenpeace from Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Commentary by Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

To Greenpeace,

The Australian 60 Minutes piece that aired on March 12th was a positive program for the whales. The Japanese clearly lost the debate.

Although I have not yet seen the program, the reports from our supporters in Australia have been positive.

Unfortunately, there were negative comments from Shayne Rattenbury about Sea Shepherd and negative comments from me about Greenpeace.

I feel I had no choice because they had already interviewed Rattenbury and confronted me with his criticisms of Sea Shepherd which I had to address. Not only did this take time away from the real issue of illegal Japanese whaling, it contributed nothing to the cause. I did not initiate this distraction.

I fail to see what can be achieved by Greenpeace from this continuous animosity that Greenpeace has for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. In June last year, I communicated my intention to work in cooperation with Greenpeace. I did not get an answer so I communicated again in October, this time getting an answer from John Bowler that turned down my offer in a very insulting manner. I tried again by communicating with Shayne Rattenbury only to be insulted again.

Your assistance in Antarctica because of your faster ship could have helped us to intervene more often and thus we could have shut down the whalers more often because you know very well that when we appeared the whalers began running. Your decision resulted in whales dying that could have been saved. Yet, your crew treated us like the enemy by refusing to cooperate. I do not blame the crew, they were following orders.

Just what is it that you have a problem with concerning Sea Shepherd? It is certainly not our tactics. We have never injured anyone and our damage to illegal property has been less severe than the damage that Earth First! does to legally utilized property, yet you have worked with Earth First!. In fact you hired one of the founders of Earth First! Mike Roselle - great guy, by the way.

Greenpeace breaks laws through the practise of civil disobedience. Sea Shepherd does not break laws, we uphold them. We intervene against illegal activities. We do not protest. So what have you got against enforcement of international conservation law?

It is not because I was dismissed from Greenpeace for advocating violence. I was not. I was dismissed by Patrick Moore for political reasons. Patrick, the great Eco-Judas now works for the killers and polluters. Evidence of the fact that I was not dismissed for my tactics is on our website including the document that has my signature that established Greenpeace International in 1979 and the copy of the Greenpeace Chronicles of September 1979 that has my article with pictures (Front Page) of my ramming of the Sierra - a tactic that Greenpeace supported completely in 1979.


If any of you are aware of the history of Greenpeace, you may have come across a reference to the Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. I suggest you read it. That is why the name Foundation was given to Greenpeace by Bob Hunter and not Society. Greenpeace is the Foundation and Sea Shepherd is the 2nd Foundation. In the book, the Foundation hates and tries to destroy the 2nd Foundation. The 2nd Foundation tries to guide the Foundation and keep it tied to its original objectives. One of those objectives is to keep the Foundation on course.

Sea Shepherd is returning to the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary in December. We understand that Greenpeace will not be returning according to Shayne Rattenbury. We would like to invite Greenpeace to return and once again we would like to work with Greenpeace in cooperation to shut down the illegal activities of the Japanese whaling fleet.

Greenpeace is raising plenty of money for the cause of protecting the whales. I think that this money should be ear-marked for a return to the Southern Oceans to defend the whales. Working together, the Greenpeace Foundation and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society can be much more effective. We do have a common enemy after all.

So, I will officially ask you once again that we work in cooperation, that we put an end to this public feuding and that we acknowledge that we are both a part of a diverse movement that should be able to agree to disagree on tactics in order to strive for a common objective.

I suspect that I will be ignored again. But the record will show that for 20 years, I and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have striven to work with and to cooperate with Greenpeace. During that time, every request has been ignored or dismissed with contempt.

The question is: How can you ever hope to promote peace in the world if you cannot negotiate peace within your own organization and movement?

Like it or not, I am one of your co-founders. I was there as an unpaid volunteer on the decks of Greenpeace ships from 1971 until 1977, long before any of you who dismiss me, had even heard of Greenpeace, before many of you were even born.

This year as I stood on the top of an iceberg and watched as Emily Hunter scattered some of her father's ashes in the Antarctic Whales Sanctuary I could not help but feel sad for the fact that Robert Hunter, who had the grace and the integrity to work with both Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd, would have wanted us to have worked together to oppose the whalers. I could only apologize to Bob for trying unsuccessfully to realize that desire of his - for us to come together again. Our failure to do so means that we both failed him.

This may not matter to people unaware of the fact that it was Bob Hunter who made it possible for Greenpeace to exist today. You all owe your positions and employment to him. But Greenpeace seems to want to dismiss the past, to erase it, and change it if need be. And that is a tragedy.

In the end, you will find that you cannot completely change history and truth usually prevails although distorted at times. At least we have Rex Weyler's book that captured a good part of it and solidified that reality before further damage could be done.

So the offer is put before you again. Are we allies or are we not? Should we work together or should we not? Should we stop publicly feuding or do you wish to continue? The choice is yours.

Captain Paul Watson
Founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (1977)
Co-Founder of Greenpeace International (1979)
Co-Founder of the Greenpeace Foundation (1972)
National Director of Sierra Club USA (2003-2006)