The bureaucrats of the Japanese government have practically become obsessed with destroying Sea Shepherd. They whine about us every year to the International Whaling Commission (IWC). They complain about us constantly in diplomatic telegrams to the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. They have even cried the whaler’s blues to the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and begged the U.S. to take action to bring down Sea Shepherd. An entire nation seems to have declared war upon a small non-governmental conservation organization with the objective of destroying us and our ability to defend life on the high seas.
What this tells us, is that we are having an impact. The Japanese whalers have admitted that we are preventing them from killing their (illegal) quota. They don’t like Sea Shepherd. Lots of people may not like Sea Shepherd, I get it. By throwing the entire might of Japan at us and making Sea Shepherd a topic of high-level diplomatic discussions, it is like the equivalent of giving us the Nobel Prize for activism. We are in fact really and truly honored.
The Japanese whalers ridicule the title of our hit television series, all the while issuing media releases that look like they were penned from a foxhole under fire from a battleship bombardment (see media release at the end of this commentary).
The latest media release from the Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR), or Institute for Cetacean Removal as I like to call it, reads like a dispatch from a war movie if the silly word “research” is removed: “a Japanese vessel was subjected to attack today by the provisionally Australian-registered trimaran Gojira. The attack started at about 1700JST and lasted until about 1900JST.”
Sea Shepherd has been using the same tactics and equipment for six years but the release reads like they have never experienced such “violence” before.“Activists onboard the Gojira approached the Japanese vessel and launched multiple projectiles using launchers.”
Can’t you just visualize mortars and bazookas firing away at the defenseless whalers?
Meanwhile the Steve Irwin was waiting in the “shadow” of an iceberg. Talk about dreaded, dastardly, deeds of despicable destruction on the deep, dark seas! …and from the covert shadows, I sent our chopper to document the attack. This was presumably to get evidence of Sea Shepherd violence so that the Australian Federal Police, at the request of Japanese authorities, can seize it when we return to Australia. We love to self-incriminate by documenting our “crimes.”
And as usual the whalers reported there were no injuries or damage to the Japanese vessels but the “attack” was condemned by the peace loving whalers who would never hurt a fly, unless it landed on a whale that is. If there were no injuries and no damage than what is all the whining about?
The nature and content of the “projectiles” appeared be a mystery to the whalers. I can report that the deadly missiles were in fact rotten potatoes and tomatoes. The Australians say tomato with a short “a,” but the Japanese whalers say “deadly projectile.” I think something was lost in translation here. The “launcher,” as captured on camera and shown in the picture on the ICR website, is in fact a simple dreaded slingshot.
The concerns of abject fear and surprise were followed by the usual “we kill whales legally” spin, which the whalers repeat so often they are actually starting to believe it themselves.
They then write the usual demands to the Netherlands and Australia that Sea Shepherd must be stopped. Demands that fall on deaf ears for the simple fact that Sea Shepherd hasn’t committed a crime. In fact even Japan has not charged Sea Shepherd with a crime, so how can they expect the Dutch and the Australians to put an end to criminal activities that are only criminal because the whalers say they are criminal? It’s like a bunch of bank robbers yelling at the police to arrest the man who tried to trip them as they ran out of the bank with the money.
I had one particularly irate critic demand me to answer how can I sleep at night after all the violence I inflict upon the defenseless whalers who are only trying to do their job, as if the word “job” justifies all forms of inhumanity.
I must admit that I do feel guilty when I stay awake at night stressing that the Dutch and the Aussies need to stop us before we, “shudder,” save another whale. I break out in cold sweats when I contemplate the horror of our behavior and the despicable nature of our crimes against whaling. I sometimes wonder how I can go on living with myself with the knowledge that the whalers of Japan and their supporters hate me. I fear the despair is enough to drive me to drink, delirium, and eternal damnation.
I sometimes wake in the middle of the night screaming, “No, no, stop me before I destroy another harpoon. Stop me before I save another whale!” But I can live with the damnation, nightmares, and the horror of my satanic whale-saving ways if I can buy another day of life for the whales.
War does that to one’s conscience by providing the ability to ignore the suffering of the whalers as they struggle to slay for their illicit profits. My heart has grown bitterly cold to the misery of their financial difficulties, and my tears have stopped flowing in the face of their pitiful agony of not filling their blood quotas and bank accounts.
I’ve come to the realization that I am a man condemned to live with the sin of compassion, and doomed to continue to do the devil’s dark work of conservation. After seven years of battling these overly sensitive, gentle souls in the cold waters of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, I confess that I have become a trifle insensitive to the needs of whalers.
All I know is that what we do down here in these remote and treacherous waters, is for the sole purpose of saving the lives of whales in an established international whale sanctuary and negating the profits of the poachers.
I don’t know why I have this strange idea that whales in a whale sanctuary should be protected or that whaling should not be allowed in a whale sanctuary. Maybe my take on the meaning of the word sanctuary is different from that of other people.
And maybe I’m wrong to feel that whales, as intelligent socially complex sentient beings, should have the right to live unmolested by serial killers. Or maybe I’m simply wrong in not respecting the culture of serial killers who feel it is their natural right to invade a sanctuary thousands of miles from their own country to spill the hottest of blood into the sea. Maybe my crew and I are wrong in doing what we do on behalf of the whales?
I confess that I don’t know, and I don’t really care! All I know is that what makes me feel good, I mean really, really good, is knowing there are whales in the ocean around us swimming freely that would otherwise be dead if not for our interventions.
And quite frankly if anyone disagrees with what we do in saving whales in the Southern Ocean, if they disagree with why we do it, where we do it, when we do it, or how we do it, all I can say is that we have not injured anyone, we have not broken a single law, and therefore I don’t give a damn.
As for the whalers, come on guys; you’re supposed to be from the land of the stoic samurai, so stop the pitiful whimpering, it’s embarrassing. You’re bringing shame onto your entire nation with your incessant whining and silly habit of labeling petty harassment and interference as ‘terrorism.’ How would you guys ever be able to deal with a real act of terrorism? Hmmm…most likely in the same way you’re dealing with us – you’ll run to Uncle Sam and cry in his lap for help.
I think it’s time that you stop making fools of yourselves and do something truly honorable, and that is to go home and leave the sanctuary and the whales alone. It’s time to put away childish things like harpoons and silly hysterical media releases, and it is about time you all got real jobs that don’t involve such cruelty, slaughter, and wasted resources.
And while you’re at it, stop beating and torturing dolphins to death in Taiji too – you craven butchering bullies!
The following is the media release issued by the Institute of Cetacean Research:
MEDIA RELEASE 5 January 2010
Japanese ship Yushin Maru No. 2 attacked by anti whaling trimaran
The Yushin Maru No. 2, a Japanese Antarctic whale research vessel was subjected to attack today by the provisionally Australian-registered trimaran Gojira. The attack started at about 1700JST and lasted until about 1900JST.
Activists onboard the Gojira approached the Japanese vessel and launched multiple projectiles using launchers. The activists also threw some projectiles by hand. In addition, the Gojira deployed wire ropes with buoys aimed at the propeller and rudder of the Yushin Maru No. 2.
Another SS vessel the Steve Irwin (SI) was nearby waiting in the shadow of an iceberg. The SI did not participate in the attack but sent its helicopter to film the attack from the air.
Neither injuries to the Japanese crew nor damage to the Japanese vessel resulted from the activists’ attack. The nature and content of the launched projectiles could not be confirmed because none landed on the Yushin Maru No. 2.
Japan’s research whaling in the Antarctic (JARPAII) is a perfectly legal activity carried out under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW). The Institute of Cetacean Research strongly condemns the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and its continued dangerous and violent actions against Japan’s whale research vessels in the Antarctic.
We call on all related countries including the Netherlands which is the Steve Irwin flag state and Australia, the Gojira provisional flag state and the virtual home port of these vessels, to stop condoning the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society violent actions and to take every means available to restraint them. Further, we strongly request that these countries deal with the SSCS criminal actions in a strict and objective manner according to their international obligations.