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Blog of a Vegan Pirate, Commentary on the Huffington Post

Usually, I love reading the Huffington Post. However, in the past week they posted a surprisingly scathing blog entry calling Sea Shepherd a terrorist group.

However, the blog made all its arguments based on many assumptions that many people seem to be making about conservation lately, so it seemed worth it to address the blog.

For the first part of this post, we will first address the main themes of the Huffington blog, for the benefit of most readers. Afterwards, we will have, for anyone who has the time or curiosity, a much longer section analyzing every other argument made in the Huffington blog, as it does address other arguments against conservation law enforcing.

The main themes

The central theme of the Huffington blog is mentioned time and time again, and put succinctly in its eighth paragraph:

“Of course the whalers, whatever you may think of their activities, are operating legally. It is Watson and the Sea Shepherds who are the criminals.”

So, although we’ve addressed this partially in previous posts, let’s cover it comprehensively here.

Here is a list of illegal activities that the whalers are performing on video, much of which was outlined by Paul Watson:

1. The Japanese are whaling in violation of the International Whaling Commission’s global moratorium on commercial whaling. The IWC scientific committee announced it does not recognize Japan’s whaling activities as “research,” and thus Japan is not exempt from the commercial whaling ban.

In 2008, Japan released its first research finding in many years from the annual slaughter. The research finding was as follows: “Injecting dead whale sperm into a cow, does not result in producing a cow-whale hybrid creature.”

2. The IWC doesn’t just ban commercial whaling, the IWC specifically bans whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary where Japan whales.

3. The Japanese are in violation of IWC regulation 19. (a) The IWC regulations in the Schedule to the Convention forbid the use of factory ships to process any protected stock: 19. (a) It is forbidden to use a factory ship or a land station for the purpose of treating any whales which are classified as Protection Stocks in paragraph 10. Paragraph 10(c) provides a definition of Protection Stocks and states that Protection Stocks are listed in the Tables of the Schedule. Table 1 lists all the baleen whales, including minke, fin and humpback whales and states that all of them are Protection Stocks. The main ship in the Japanese whaling fleet is the Nisshin Maru, the whaling fleet factory ship, which allows the fleet to kill 1,000 whales a year at sea at a time.

4. In addition, the IWC regulations specifically ban the use of factory ships to process any whales except minke whales: Paragraph 10(d) provides: (d) Notwithstanding the other provisions of paragraph 10 there shall be a moratorium on the taking, killing or treating of whales, except minke whales, by factory ships or whale catchers attached to factory ships. This moratorium applies to sperm whales, killer whales and baleen whales, except minke whales.

5. The Antarctic Treaty specifies the area that Japan is whaling in, as Australia’s territory. Japan is a signing member of the Antarctic Treaty. According to a law it signed, Japan is violating Australia sovereign territory.

6. Before the 2007-2008 Japanese whale hunt, the highest federal court of Australia passed an order stating that it is illegal for Japan to whale in its Antarctic Territory.

7. Article 1 of The Antarctic Treaty specifies that the area in which Japan is bringing military personnel and military gear/weapons for military purposes, is a demilitarized zone in which it is illegal to bring military personnel and military gear for any non-peaceful purposes.

8. The Japanese are in violation of targeting whales protected by the UN’s CITES and the UN Law of the Sea. Japan is a member nation of CITES.

Now, the other half of that passage states that we as Sea Shepherd are criminals. We operate legally, however, under the UN World Charter for Nature, which gives any NGO or individual the right to stop poaching or illegal environmental destruction that’s outlawed by international conservation laws.

Japan has an extradition treaty with the US, and has filmed me during our engagements with them. They have said they will extradite all of us US criminals for prosecution, but have never done so, even though they are granted this right by international agreements. If we could legally extradite any terrorists who have attacked us, and we have film of them doing illegal actions, under which conditions would we NOT extradite them?

The Huffington blog also tries to do what many people try to do, which is reassure themselves that Japan must be taking whales that the world doesn’t need:

“Whatever it may be, minke whales, in particular, are not considered to be particularly threatened. Estimates have placed the minke population in the Southern Hemisphere in the range of 200,000-416,700 whales.”

Minke whales, in particular, are considered to be particularly threatened by the United Nations’ Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which Japan is a member nation of, so even Japan officially considers the minke whale to be particularly threatened.

The other theme of the blog is stated in its fourth paragraph:

“And oh, by the way, the Sea Shepherds do almost nothing to protect the whales where they really do need protection.”

SSCS has campaigns against drift-netting, long-lining, and illegal fishing in all its forms that decimate whale populations around the world. We have devoted our scant resources to ending all forms of poaching that result in whale by-catch and accidental whale killings, and we work with sovereign governments to pass and enforce regulations to prevent accidental killings of whales by ships and fishing equipment.

In 2006-2007, Sea Shepherd directly lead law enforcement raids that seized tens of thousands of illegal shark fins bound for China (illegal long-lining operations that would cause countless by-catch), and SSCS waged investigations that directly lead to arrest warrants in large illegal operations that kill tons of by-catch. Last year, I served as Sea Shepherd’s comms specialist on a mission with the Ecuadorian rangers to create the very first conservation law enforcement and ranger base in the Northern Islands of the Galapagos, because that’s where a huge amount of the dolphin and whale by-catch from the entire Northwest quadrant of South America happens.

Independently of other governments, SSCS has rescued countless whales and dolphins from illegal purse netting, long-lining, and other accident scenarios in the Pacific Ocean by directly patrolling areas that are often used for such illegal fishing. And in the past four years, we have caught and stopped many illegal operations from Panama to China to the US to Ecuador to many others, that have been decimating whale and dolphin populations through by-catch.

The argument of this passage is that Sea Shepherd is doing “almost nothing” with the scant resources it has to protecting whales where they do need protection. The question is, how much are we expected to do with the tiny budget we have, to match expectations of what we could be accomplishing?

So those are the basic premises of the blog, which many people have been recounting since the premiere of Whale Wars.

The blog continues to mention many other assumptions, although the above reading may be enough for most people in one sitting.

Further reading for the curious

However, if you are curious enough, and have some time to kill this lunch break, then below, I have examined every single argument the Huffington blog makes from beginning to end because I have strange hobbies in my spare time:

First sentence:
“Tonight begins the second season of ‘Whale Wars’ in which a scruffy band of eco-crusaders, the Sea Shepherds, go to war against the evil whaling ships, by any means necessary.”

First sentence corrected:
Actually, it is not “by any means necessary.” Our methods are very strictly regulated, and we have all been given very well defined limits of what we can or cannot do during engagements, all in an effort to cause zero harm to humans, and to avoid any entanglements with international law. Thus, we have never been arrested or prosecuted for any violent crimes. The Japanese crew train multiple video cameras on us during every engagement, following our actions closely to try to catch any illegal violent behavior on our part, but they have never been able to actually get video of us doing any such thing because we strictly control how we engage with poaching vessels. The Japanese do sometimes claim that their crew have been injured by us, although we have shared all our video with any interested parties to show exactly where all of our shots go. Also, whenever we have injuries from grenade blasts etc, we have crew to produce with those injuries, but the Japanese have always stopped making their accusations as soon as they are asked to produce anyone who requires medical attention from an engagement.

Second paragraph:
“What’s not to like? The show is action on the high seas; ocean combat to save the whales! Everyone likes whales. I like whales. Who doesn’t like whales? What great television for those bored with shows about fishing off Alaska, Ice Road Truckers or the Real Housewives of Duluth!”

Second paragraph commentary:
It is a great show isn’t it?

Third paragraph opening:
“So what is the problem with ‘Whale Wars’? The problem is that it is cheap exploitation in praise of what is nothing less than eco-terrorism.”

Third paragraph opening, corrected:
Eco-terrorism is illegal. However, we do not do anything illegal in Antarctica, even though the Australian government has investigated us many times looking for anything illegal to prosecute on behalf of Japan, even temporarily confiscating our tapes of Japanese whaling in order to protect Japan’s interests earlier this year. Several times, even in the past two years alone, Australian federal authorities have boarded our ship under pressure from Japan, on behalf of Japan, to investigate everything from piracy to interfering with legal businesses. There has been nothing illegal for them to pursue, and no arrests have ever been made from any of these investigations, regardless/because of how much video evidence there is (from both us and the Japanese) of every engagement.

Third paragraph continued:
“It is the glorification of vigilantism on the high seas.”

Third paragraph continued, corrected:
Vigilantes fight against crime, so we thank the blogger for pointing out that we are indeed trying to stop illegal activities. However, vigilantes also do not operate under any legal authority. We perform our campaigns under the authority of the UN World Charter for Nature. Vigilantes are also illegal, and would be arrested if found. We haven’t only been found; we’ve been searched, investigated, interrogated, and pursued by first-world federal legal authorities. However, no one has been arrested for anything related to Whale Wars.

Fourth paragraph opening:
“While ‘Whale Wars’ presents a simplistic case of us against them, the noble environmentalists against the evil whalers, the reality, of course, is not so black and white. By international agreement with the International Whaling Commission, the Japanese were allowed to kill up to a nine hundred minke whales and fifty fin whales in 2007/2008 in the Antarctic ocean for ‘research purposes.’”

Fourth paragraph opening, corrected:
Japan wouldn’t make any “international agreements” with the International Whaling Commission. They’re already a member country of it, bound to the IWC’s legal commission rulings. And the IWC has announced they officially do NOT recognize Japan’s whaling as research.

Fourth paragraph second half:
“Critics claim that this is thinly disguised commercial whaling.”

Fourth paragraph second half, corrected:
The suggestion here is that there are some critics in the traditional sense of individual commentators. Although you could as an individual cite things like Japan’s open lack of research records, the important critics here are sovereign countries like Panama, that removed their flag from the Japanese whaling ship the Nisshin Maru in the past year because it’s against Panamanian policy to support commercial whaling. And other critics like the sovereign nation of Holland, which refused to give into Japanese political pressure to remove the Dutch flag from our ship, citing it was the Japanese who are engaged in the illegal activity of commercial whaling.

Fifth paragraph:
“Negotiating international agreements may not make for rousing ‘reality TV’ but it has made a significant difference in actually ‘saving the whales.’”

Fifth paragraph corrected:
The laws and international agreements protecting the whales that Japan targets have been in place for years. Indeed, commercial whaling has been illegal since the 1980′s, and several UN bodies cite specific whales that are not to be killed or hunted. Japan has actually signed these agreements and is a member nation of the UN bodies and IWC, which have outlawed commercial whaling and the specific killing of whales that Japan is targeting during its annual hunt.

More recently, there has been additional international legal action done. Australia has been building a legal case against Japan, and Australia’s highest federal court indeed outlawed all Japanese whaling in the Australian Antarctic Territory, which is where Japan whales.

Despite all of these international agreements, Japan continues to illegally whale in protected waters every year.

It’s very easy to say, “Well, the law is in place, our work is done!” Whereas the reality is that rules only mean something if a police force supports them. As it is, a very powerful first world nation has been using its military might to break these international agreements and rulings, not back them.

Sixth paragraph first half:
“The Sea Shepherds on ‘Whale Wars’ are abolitionist animal rights activists. They believe that every whale is sacred and should be preserved. On this basis, they justify aggressively interfering with and attempting to disable whaling ships in international waters, including pelting the ships with bottles containing butyric acid, which recently injured four Japanese crew members.”

Sixth paragraph first half, corrected:
We do not justify our behavior because whales are being killed. We justify our behavior because we are operating legally against an illegal enterprise. Whales are being killed much closer to home, legally, by indigenous cultures. We do not have any campaigns against that because such hunts have been deemed legal by the IWC.

And here, the Huffington blog is taking Japanese claims of injuries as fact. We know, from our engagements and the injuries from grenade blasts inflicted on our crew by the Japanese, that it’s very easy to prove injuries by matching video to medical evidence. And again, Japan shuts up immediately when asked to provide this.

Sixth paragraph second half:
“Their zealotry is strongly reminiscent of anti-abortion extremists. (Both groups share a fondness for butyric acid attacks.) The Sea Shepherds also attempt to maneuver Zodiac boats in between the whalers and their prey. More seriously, they have taken to ramming Japanese whalers with their ship, the Steve Irwin. (They deny this but several videos of the Irwin ramming a whaler are widely available.) Members of the Sea Shepherds have also boarded whalers at sea and in one case the Sea Shepherds interfered with the search and rescue of a Japanese sailor washed overboard. (The Sea Shepherds deny they interfered but that is not the opinion of those conducting the search and rescue.)”

Sixth paragraph second half, corrected:
We haven’t “taken to” anything new recently, actually. Sea Shepherd’s ramming of illegal poaching vessels has been well documented in many documentaries like “Sharkwater” and news pieces for decades, starting with the very public ramming of the pirate whaling vessel the Sierra in Spain. So we have no shame admitting when we ram vessels. However, the Japanese fleet has not been shy about ramming us either, starting in 2006 when we got footage of them ramming our ship the Robert Hunter (which has been renamed the Steve Irwin). Indeed, ramming is serious business, as footage shows a Japanese harpoon ship ramming our ship in the documentary “At the Edge of the World.” If people are concerned about ramming, we can provide video evidence (to any law enforcement agency they think would care) of the Nisshin Maru turning at us in an attempt to ram us during the 2007-2008 whaling season (which would have been lethal to us, on a ship one eighth the size of the Nisshin Maru).

This passage also argues the claim that in one case, SSCS interferes with the search and rescue of a Japanese sailor who fell overboard a Japanese ship. The incident (which was unrelated to any pursuit or confrontation) was tragic, and Sea Shepherd offered to help in search and rescue. The offer was turned down, but more importantly, this period of time was being filmed. And as we mentioned earlier, whenever we come in sight of their ship, they film us too. If there is more than an accusation that we would do anything other than help a human who falls overboard, we invite them to show their evidence against ours.

Seventh paragraph:
“The Sea Shepherds fly the Jolly Roger flag of piracy. I think that they should be more accurately described as eco-terrorists.”

Seventh paragraph corrected:
Again, if anyone has video or any other proof of any illegal acts worthy of a $10 fine on Whale Wars, there’s a good chance we would’ve been told by the sovereign governments launching federal investigations targeting us.

Eighth paragraph, first half:
“‘You don’t beg criminals to stop doing what they’re doing,’ Mr. Watson said in the first episode last season. ‘You intervene, and you physically and aggressively shut them down.’”

Ninth paragraph:
“And where are these self-described pirates or eco-terrorists, call them what you will, based? In Friday Harbor, Washington. Given their arguably illegal and dangerous antics, I am surprised that the group, as well as the producers of the television show and the Animal Planet Network
have not been swamped in lawsuits.”

Ninth paragraph, corrected:
We thank the blogger for taking back his former bold statements, and at least calling our actions “arguably” illegal here. However, the fact that we aren’t in legal trouble should not be a surprise to anyone at all, if you look at the laws against whaling, and at the laws protecting those operating legally under UN charters.

Tenth paragraph, first half:
“But do the Sea Shepherds make a difference? Not in any significant way. The WWF estimates that 90% of non-natural whale deaths are due to collisions with ships, followed by “by-catch,” whales becoming caught in nets, and then lastly, by fishing. Only this week, an oil tanker bound for Valdez apparently collided with a humpback whale and dragged the carcass into the harbor on the bow of the ship.”

Tenth paragraph, first half, corrected:
The argument here is that because whales die in other ways, it’s important to ignore the whale hunt. We actually believe it’s important to tackle the problem from ALL sides, and to tackle both the accidental killings as well as the direct poaching of whales. While we do not have the funds to be a lobby group, we work with sovereign governments in preventing accidental whale deaths, and we contribute the scant amount we have to making sure that incidents mentioned in that passage will be prevented. As an example that directly relates to the incident mentioned above: in the Galapagos, we donated one of our ships (we don’t have many, so this was a sizable donation) to the Galapagos rangers, to protect lanes in which whales are in danger among other things. About six months ago, that ship we donated towed and rescued a blue whale that got caught and stranded in such a lane. We don’t have many resources, but every penny people give to Sea Shepherd goes to making sure whales won’t get killed.

Even if we did not do any of that, does the argument – “because whales die in other ways, it’s important to ignore the whale hunt which we can put a stop to” – actually helping any whales? Let’s consider it in human terms. If a murderer is killing 1,000 people a year, and he publicly advertises where and when he’s about to kill his next 1,000 victims, and only one tiny, under-funded group decided to stop the murderer, the argument of this article would be: “It’s irresponsible and a gross misappropriation of the world’s resources for this one small group to do anything about this murderer, because so many people die from other causes.” We pursue those other causes, yes, but we think it would be rather irresponsible to ignore the murderer sitting right in front of us.

Tenth paragraph, second half:
“Special shipping lanes have been set up off Cape Cod to reduce collisions between ships and the extremely endangered northern right whales, which migrate through the area. It is hoped that these collisions will be reduced by an estimated 74% during the migratory season. Changes in shipping lanes around the world and the development of new technologies are making a real difference in reducing the number of whales who die needlessly, which also does not make for entertaining television.”

Tenth paragraph, second half, corrected:
Indeed, it doesn’t make very entertaining television, which is why a lot of people do not know about these other non-glamorous campaigns we do to prevent accidental whale deaths. But the data and results are there for anyone to see if they look into it or ask or spend a few minutes on our website.

Final paragraph:
“In the end, ‘Whale Wars’ is a highly dangerous sideshow, which may make for diverting ‘reality TV’ for the couch-bound, but has nothing meaningful to do with ‘saving the whales.’”

Final paragraph, corrected:
One of the most common responses to the show is the statement, “I had no idea whaling still happened.” It is perhaps not dangerous, and perhaps a good thing that people understand that this illegal enterprise is still happening, and that it is possible for people to shut down such a poaching machine if they put their minds to it.

16 Comments

  1. Comment by

    Nicole

    on #

    Hi Todd!! I haven’t heard from you in a while and I just wanted to say hello and I hope you’re doing wonderful!

  2. Comment by

    isanatori

    on #

    Hi,

    Your interpretation of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling is mistaken. If you read article VIII which defines “special permits for scientific research”, it says :

    “Notwithstanding anything contained in this Convention any Contracting Government may grant to any of its nationals a special permit authorizing that national to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research subject to such restrictions as to number and subject to such other conditions as the Contracting Government thinks fit, and the killing, taking, and treating of whales in accordance with the provisions of this Article shall be exempt from the operation of this Convention.”

    Hence the “Notwithstanding anything contained in this Convention” and “shall be exempt from the operation of this Convention.” It means that whatever conservation measures (moratoria, sanctuaries) have been adopted (and added to the Schedule), the “killing, taking, and treating of whales” for research purposes is legal. (Article I of the ICRW explains that the Schedule is integral part of the Convention)

    Besides, the same article VIII also explains that “Any whales taken under these special permits shall so far as practicable be processed and the proceeds shall be dealt with in accordance with directions issued by the Government by which the permit was granted.”, meaning that the sales of by-products of the research (whale meat) is not illegal and doesn’t make it “commercial”. Actually, the money raised serves to cover the research expenditures.

    Moreover, I challenge you to find any document mentioning that “the IWC scientific committee announced it does not recognize Japan’s whaling activities as “research”.” And even if the Scientific Committee had made such a statement, it wouldn’t make Japanese research programmes as non-scientific, as there’s no need for the IWC/SC to recognize such programmes as scientific or not. (The conditions are in article VIII.)

    The Antarctic Treaty freezes territory claims on the Antarctic continent and waters. This means that the territory Australia claims as hers doesn’t need to be recognized as such by other nations, which is exactly the case for Japan. In other words, this no Australian territory for countries including Japan who don’t recognize it as such. Therefore, Japan is not violating any Australian ruling.

    Japanese whalers have never brought any military personnel or military gear/weapons for military purposes in the Antarctic. Coast guards and flashbang grenades do not constitute military personnel or military gear/weapons.
    All they did is try to protect their ships and crews from SSCS attacks.

    Could you explain further in what the Japanese are in violation of targeting whales protected by the UN’s CITES and the UN Law of the Sea, please?

    Everything that I just wrote makes it clear that Japanese research programme in the Southern Ocean are perfectly legal. A point further demonstrated by the fact that no country or organisation has even tried to put Japan on trial in an International court.

    Not only your interpretation of International law is biased and flawed, but you also show your ignorance (or bad faith) when you write that Japan released its first scientific paper in 2008. There’s been tens of papers before that and many reports submitted to the IWC/SC.

    The whales populations which Japan is catching for its research programme are not endangered. Minke whales number in hundreds of thousands, fin whales have shown signs of increase. The quotas are sustainable and don’t threaten the targeted species’ survival.

    Sea Shepherd doesn’t have any environmental ground for opposing Japanese research on cetaceans.
    In fact, one may wonder why they don’t go to the Northwestern Pacific where Japan conducts another research programme. The fear to be arrested, certainly.

  3. Comment by

    Dave Head

    on #

    Excuse me isanatori is your real name Glenn from NZ? Paid by the Japanese to roam the internet spreading propoganda , lies, distortions, etc where-ever you can.
    In fact the IWC has condemned the so-called Japanese research-just about every year. Because it is not peer reviewed almost all is not considered to be scientific. In Fact a New Zealand professor finds out more from a small dna sample and whale poop than you guys have from killing 1000′s of whales. It is also a fact before the zero quota [ban] Japan did almost zip whale research. Before WWII not many Japanese actually ate whales meat -but after the USA found 2 out of 3 POW’s had been murdered they left them to starve and help them set up whale hunting on a scale that the Japanese had never done before. It is also a fact that short of another couple of ‘bombs’ Japan will not respond to negotiation- it is considered in the same light as surrender was in WWII.
    As long as they can justify themselves to themselves they don’t loose face. To loose face in the old days resulted in you sicking a knife in your belly.

    In any case I don’t buy anything made in Japan or produced by a Japanese company – a trade ban no government has the balls to use to enforce the obligations of many multi-lateral environmental agreements [including the ATS- Antarctic treaty system] which Japan breaks with inpunity.

  4. Comment by

    todemko

    on #

    Hello Glenn.

    “I challenge you to find any document mentioning that “the IWC scientific committee announced it does not recognize Japan’s whaling activities as ‘research’”

    Challenge accepted! :)

    In 2007, the IWC Scientific Committee and member nations again condemned Japan’s hunt:
    http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/cites-factsheet-minke-whales.pdf

    “IWC members passed a resolution Wednesday that calls on the government of Japan to address 31 outstanding recommendations from the Scientific Committee and to suspend indefinitely the lethal aspects of its research program.”

    The recent 2007 IWC resolution against Japan’s claims of research is nothing new, as the IWC member nations and Scientific Committee had announced their condemnation and lack of scientific recognition of the Japanese whale hunt plenty of years, as Japan’s research (mixing cows with whale sperm to see if it produces a cow-whale creature) speaks for itself:
    http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/03/13/1710223

    If you have further concerns about the other IWC laws that the Japanese are breaking by illegally using a whale factory ship and illegally processing minke and fin whales on it, please let me know, I’d be glad to address those as well.

    “Could you explain further in what the Japanese are in violation of targeting whales protected by the UN’s CITES and the UN Law of the Sea, please?”

    I’d be glad to! CITES agreed to list and protect the whales listed in the IWC’s Appendix I list of protected whales, on which Minke whales appear.

    Interesting comment:

    “you write that Japan released its first scientific paper in 2008.”

    I never said that research paper was their first research paper, not sure where you got that from, weird.

    Interesting: “A point further demonstrated by the fact that no country or organisation has even tried to put Japan on trial in an International court.”
    While there’s no international Nuremberg court for whales, countries and international organizations have indeed tried to take Japan’s whaling to court in courts that actually do exist.

    Country:
    http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2008-01/2008-01-15-voa10.cfm?moddate=2008-01-15

    Organization:
    http://us.oneworld.net/article/australian-court-allows-case-against-japanese-whaler

    Article I of the Antarctic Treaty demands that military equipment be there for “peaceful purposes only,” which is why unarmed US military transport planes are permitted to fly supplies and crew to the US scientific research base. Your argument is that “bringing soldiers with the intention of chucking grenades at unarmed civilians” is a peaceful intention with which to bring military equipment to Antarctica. Even if we were armed, and announced hostile intentions, your argument here would be that bringing military to Antarctica for “defense” purposes against another armed military is a peaceful intention. Is it peaceful because we’re unarmed targets? Perhaps someday “bringing our military to wage a fight we know will be there if we bring these soldiers” will count as a solely peaceful purpose, although I hope we don’t end up in such a world.
    http://www.scar.org/treaty/at_text.html

    Now, if we had committed crimes without lawful authority, chances are we would’ve been taken to court for Whale Wars before other courts made rulings on Japan’s whaling. ;)

  5. Comment by

    todemko

    on #

    Oops, put the wrong link to the first part. The link to the IWC Scientific Committee and member nations condemning Japan’s whale hunt:
    http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2007/2007-05-31-05.asp

  6. Comment by

    champurrado

    on #

    Sea Shepherd kicks a**! Way to be smarter than the haters. Keep up the great work.

  7. Comment by

    TLW

    on #

    You are awesome Tod!!! I appreciate the time you took to do all your fact checking and providing resources to back things up… that Richard guy.. won’t let me post because I accused him of having an ulterior motive to post such hateful, uncalled for words..
    I also love this video and think through humor.. sums it all up..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zduXrLTIc6Q

  8. Comment by

    isanatori

    on #

    Hi,

    First of all, I’m not Glenn and I’m not from NZ. I’m French. I know Glenn and I’m sure he wouldn’t even bother commenting on your blog.

    “If you have further concerns about the other IWC laws that the Japanese are breaking by illegally using a whale factory ship and illegally processing minke and fin whales on it, please let me know, I’d be glad to address those as well.”

    As I told you before, Article VIII makes clear enough that Special Permits for scientific research are not bound to any measures written in the Schedule of the ICRW.
    In other words, all the provisions of the paragraphs you quote from the Schedule do not apply to scientific whaling. Japan is thus not breaking any IWC law, period.

    The article you quote is funny. I can quote the chair of the IWC Scientific Committee saying the opposite about the JARPA review :
    “To make it very short, the review panel was very pleased with the data (Japan has) collected and provided from the programme. There was some advice on how these data could be further analysed, or better analysed, but there was general consensus about the high quality and the usefulness of the data.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6667907.stm

    In 2001, answering to an interview for the documentary “A Greener Shade of Whale”, Greg Donovan, scientific editor to the IWC, commented :
    “The whole question of scientific whaling, where you kill animals for scientific research, is a major issue in the Commission at the moment. I don’t think there’s any doubt that some good scientific results are coming out of these programs. The fundamental question is ‘do these results justify killing animals?’. And that effectively is a philosophical, not a scientific question.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUq7AfgGq80
    (I recommend watching this documentary, btw.)

    On the IWC’s website, I read about the JARPA review :
    “In conclusion, the Committee concurred with the view of the 1997 workshop that ?The results of the JARPA programme, while not required for management under the RMP, have the potential to improve management of minke whales in the Southern Hemisphere? in a number of ways. As has been the case in past Committee discussions on of the respective merits of lethal and non-lethal methodology, it was not possible to reach consensus amongst the participants.”
    http://www.iwcoffice.org/conservation/permits.htm#jarpa

    The Commission, as it is a political body, may express strong political opinions on Japanese cetacean research, but its Scientific Committee seems to have a rather positive view on the results on it.

    You say “CITES agreed to list and protect the whales listed in the IWC’s Appendix I list of protected whales, on which Minke whales appear”, but seem to ignore that Japan, Norway and Iceland have filed legal objections to this listing. There as thus not bound by any CITES regulations on the trade of minke whales.

    Continuing quoting you: “While there’s no international Nuremberg court for whales, countries and international organizations have indeed tried to take Japan’s whaling to court in courts that actually do exist.”
    Know that the UNCLOS provides for arbitration at the International Court of Justice. The examples you cite are referring to the Australian court ruling, which has no effect out of Australia, including the Antarctic territories which Australia claims but are not recognized by countries including Japan.

    “Your argument is that ‘bringing soldiers with the intention of chucking grenades at unarmed civilians’ is a peaceful intention with which to bring military equipment to Antarctica.”
    No. I explained you that coast guards and flashbang grenades do not constitute military personnel or military gear/weapons. That’s unless you consider coast guards and policemen to be military soldiers, but then that would be your own interpretation.

    Besides, the article you quoted says :
    “Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Captain Paul Watson, who traveled from Australia to attend the IWC meeting, was told to leave the Captain Cook Hotel and treatened with criminal tresspass charges if he re-entered the building.”
    Maybe it’s good to recall that Sea Shepherd had its observer status cancelled after it sunk whaling boats in Reykjavik. That says a lot about the NGO’s credentials to “enforce international law”.

  9. Comment by

    todemko

    on #

    Hello French. Sigh, most of your IWC quotes come a decade before the IWC condemnations mentioned earlier, and the IWC condemned the hunt a week after the BBC article you mentioned.

    But further sigh. You keep dutifully regurgitating passages and interpretations of laws that Japan recites, each time that it justifies its own actions as legal. And you know what? The collective country voting bodies that have the authority to interpret and rule upon those passages have consistently said that Japan is interpreting those wrong, and that interpreting the law wrong does not give you the right to break it, just like they voted in 2007. Japan is using a passage of the IWC laws to say it has the right to kill those whales, and the IWC collective voting body says, “Well no, actually, we’re the ones who legally interpret what those laws mean, you don’t, you’re interpreting our law wrong, we’re calling you out on it, you’re a member of us, stop your whaling.” The member countries of the IWC made these laws, they rule on them, the voting countries follow the laws they make, and Japan is the only one that has decided it can unilaterally interpret the IWC laws for itself.

    So, in order to defend Japan, you’re constantly putting yourself in a position where you have to say, “No no, look, it’s not Japan that’s wrong about IWC laws and rulings, it’s the IWC that’s wrong about what its laws say, and it’s the IWC that is RULING wrong. Don’t you see? Japan has decided that IWC laws mean something other than what the IWC rulings say its laws mean. So that GIVES Japan the right to ignore the IWC rulings. Don’t you see, you’re totally wrong about IWC rules by siding with the IWC rulings!”

    Let’s get some perspective on this. Suppose the law says the driving speed limit is 40mph, unless you’re an emergency vehicle. And then you say, “Well then, I’m an emergency vehicle,” and drive 90mph. And the police stop you. And the legislative system that decides who’s an emergency vehicle, says you’re not an ambulance. And a court rules that it’s not up to you to interpret the law, and that you’ve actually broken the law, and you have to stop driving 90mph. If you say, “Well, it’s the COURTS that are misinterpreting the law, and it’s the LEGISLATIVE SYSTEM that doesn’t understand that their law GIVES me the right to drive 90mph,” then who is actually right? Some may argue that it’s actually irrelevant what you decide the law means at that point. If you continue to argue, “I choose to interpret this legislative body’s laws, differently than the legislative body does, so their rulings are irrelevant. Thus, my actions are perfectly legal,” then yeah, there’s kind of nothing left to discuss.

    And come on, do you truly believe that bringing soldiers to fight in a “defense” mission against Sea Shepherd in Antarctica with guns and grenades is a peaceful intention? It´s not a personal ¨interpretation¨ to say that the Antarctic Treaty says ¨peaceful purposes only.¨ Do you truly believe and stand behind all these opinions you regurgitate from Japan?

  10. Comment by

    isanatori

    on #

    Hi,

    Todd, I think you don’t know much what you’re talking about.

    To make it simple, the IWC is a regulation body that was created by the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), signed in Washington in december 1946.
    The ICRW is composed of the Convention itself (the basic rules) and an annex called the Schedule where are added the regulations on whaling adopted by the IWC such as the moratorium and sanctuaries.

    Adoption of regulations to the Schedule needs a 3/4 majority at the IWC. These regulations are usually binding to all the member states, but countries can file an objection to them and not be bound by these regulations. That’s what Norway did in 1982 when the moratorium was adopted, and under this objection, Norway was able to restart legally commercial whaling in 1993.
    Japan has filed an objection to the 1994 Southern Ocean whale sanctuary with regards to minke whales, meaning that if the moratorium was lifted, Japan could restart commercial whaling of minke whales in the Southern Ocean.

    The next type of texts the IWC can adopt is resolutions. They are non binding texts that are adopted with a simple 1/2 majority. The “condemnation” you quoted previously comes under this category. It’s the resolution 2007-1 : http://www.iwcoffice.org/meetings/resolutions/resolution2007.htm#res1
    It is not binding, meaning that Japan, as a member state of the IWC, is NOT obliged to follow the call “to suspend indefinitely the lethal aspects of JARPA II conducted within the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary,” and can continue to exercise its right to conduct scientific research (including the catch of whales) under a special permit.

    I’m not saying that the IWC is wrong. To change the Convention itself, and more precisely the terms of the article VIII, it would require all the member countries to agree to such changes.

    In other words, the IWC is not a legislative system which decides what is “scientific research” and what is not. Besides, there is no system to settle disputes over the interpretation of the ICRW within the IWC. The only mean to impose an interpretation on this matter would be to go through an International court. Such a procedure may very much probably support Japan’s interpretation of article VIII. That’s why anti-whaling nations haven’t tried and won’t try such a thing.

    “And come on, do you truly believe that bringing soldiers to fight in a “defense” mission against Sea Shepherd in Antarctica with guns and grenades is a peaceful intention?”
    No, I said, twice already, that coast guards and flashbang grenades do not constitute military personnel or military gear/weapons. There’s thus no problem under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty.

  11. Comment by

    todemko

    on #

    Yes yes, we’re indeed talking about two different things. I’m not talking about changing the convention, I’m saying that the IWC has ruled that Japan is misinterpreting the IWC and that Japan must stop whaling:

    RECALLING that the Commission has repeatedly requested Contracting Parties to refrain from issuing special permits for research involving the killing of whales within the Southern Ocean Sanctuary, has expressed deep concern at continuing lethal research within the Southern Ocean Sanctuary, and has also recommended that scientific research involving the killing of cetaceans should only be permitted where critically important research needs are addressed;

    the IWC is:

    CONVINCED that the aims of JARPA II do not address critically important research needs;

    the IWC:

    FURTHER CALLS UPON the Government of Japan to suspend indefinitely the lethal aspects of JARPA II conducted within the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

    Resolution 2007-1 (RESOLUTION ON JARPA) is located on the IWC’s website at:
    http://www.iwcoffice.org/Meetings/resolutions/resolution2007.htm

    The argument that “everything Japan is doing is considered to be scientific whaling” is denied by the IWC itself, whether or not Japan agrees to obey the IWC. I’m not arguing that Japan is refusing to obey the resolution. Japan’s entire argument is that it’s following the special permit passage, while the IWC says “well you’re wrong in doing that, so stop it.” The fact that Japan doesn’t agree to obey isn’t the issue here. It’s the fact that the IWC has already agreed that it’s bogus that Japan is using that special permit passage to say it’s whaling is scientific. And while the IWC doesn’t have the police or teeth to physically go and stop them for it, thankfully we do. And I’m sorry we have to agree to disagree on this one, friend. We truly do intend to cooperate with any legal investigation of our actions, as we’ve done each year as you’ve seen on Whale Wars, if anyone feels there is legal ground to stop us. If you’re going to be one of the people meeting us on that legal battlefield, I salute you as we both know we’ll do our best. ;)

    And look, I’m also sorry we don’t see eye to eye on whether military grenades and military guns on military uniforms used by military Coast Guard personnel (thousands of miles from Japan’s coast, natch) is actually military personnel or military gear. It seems we also have to agree to disagree on that one too. ;)

    Good luck, friend, and perhaps we’ll see you out there someday.

  12. Comment by

    todemko

    on #

    For the curious, here’s an interesting law journal article written about us this year by Villanova Law:

    http://www.seashepherd.org/images/stories/who-we-are/laws-and-charters-1-30-09_-JER-_Sea_Shepherd_Whaling_Paper.pdf

  13. Comment by

    caitlin e hausmann

    on #

    Amen…. it is interesting how the people who are killing whales and in turn killing the eco-system are not eco terrorists but the ones who protect it are! tomato tomato.

  14. Comment by

    isanatori

    on #

    Hi,

    Indeed, i’m pretty sure we won’t agree on much, except on that we disagree.

    Anyway, as i pointed out before, the issuing of Special Permits for scientific research is a right of IWC member countries irrespective of what the IWC may say about it, as long as “each Contracting Government shall transmit to such body as may be designated by the Commission, in so far as practicable, and at intervals of not more than one year, scientific information available to that Government with respect to whales and whaling, including the results of research conducted pursuant to paragraph 1 of this Article and to Article IV.” In other words, Japan only needs to report its findings to the Scientific Committee of the IWC.
    http://www.iwcoffice.org/commission/convention.htm

    All this means that the non binding resolution which you quoted doesn’t make any legal ground for Sea Shepherd’s actions against the Japanese research vessels.

    Further more, at an intersessional meeting in march 2008, the IWC made a statement about Sea Shepherd :
    “The Meeting recalled Commission resolution 2007-2 entitled ?Resolution on Safety at Sea and Protection of the Environment? as well as resolution 2006-2 entitled ?Resolution on the Safety of Vessels engaged in Whaling and Whale Research-related Activities?, both of which had been adopted by consensus by the Commission. It noted reports of dangerous actions by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in the Southern Ocean in recent months directed against Japanese vessels.

    It called upon the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to refrain from dangerous actions that jeopardise safety at sea, and on vessels and crews concerned to exercise restraint. The meeting reiterated that the Commission and its Contracting Governments do not condone and in fact condemn any actions that are a risk to human life and property in relation to the activities of vessels at sea. It urged Contracting Governments to take actions, in accordance with relevant rules of international law and respective national laws and regulations, to cooperate to prevent and suppress actions that risk human life and property at sea and with respect to alleged offenders. The Meeting recalled that accreditation for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as an observer to the Commission had been denied since 1987 because of unacceptable behaviour and tactics.”
    http://www.iwcoffice.org/meetings/intersession08.htm#safety

    Good luck to you too.

  15. Comment by

    thefutureisvegan

    on #

    I find it laughable that Japan did next to no (probably none) “scientific research” on whales prior to the 1980s but now finds itself irresistibly drawn to expanding our knowledge of whales through a massive research project (which no scientific ethics committee of any decent standing would sign off on).
    Meanwhile JARPA make much ado about their list of “research papers”, of which very few that I’ve ever seen were based on samples acquired from the whales that they’ve in reality killed to supply to school children and restaurants.
    Like others who’ve commented here, I have my own boycott of Japanese products and encourage everyone else to do likewise.

  16. Comment by

    達磨DARUMA

    on #

    ECO-TERRORIST JAPAN-HATERS: WHALERS

    One will probably NEVER understand these JAPAN-HATERS like isanatori. Or their motivation why they want to hurt thousands of Japanese people.

    isanatori is just another one of your typical ANTI-JAPANESE ECO-TERRORIST supporters. Here he is on here trying to find loopholes in the law simply to damage Japanese children.

    Whale meat, including from antarctic, baleen, and other whales as well, has been found to be contaminated.

    WHALE MEAT CAN CONTAIN METHYL MERCURIC POISON!

    Whale has been found by Japanese scientists and confirmed by Japan and others to contain Methyl Mercuric poison. In addition, depending upon the whale meat tested, whale meat also contains such things as Cadmium, LEAD, Toxaphene, Polychlorinated Biphenyls, chemicals of the DIOXIN group. Whale meat has even been found to contain carcinogens, and highly toxic Brominated Flame Retardants.

    THUS, ANYONE EATING WHALE MEAT IS INGESTING POISON.

    Japanese Researchers have confirmed that the amount of these substances in whale meat has tested above the human limit, even according to Japan’s own Health Ministry. And some samples meausred from 1,600 to over 9,000 times the dose. This means, that if you ever see Anyone attempt to post erroneous information such as “its not that much” or “these things are in everything” or “its the same as in fish” etc, you can immediately debunk that person. The levels found in whale meat were tens and thousands of times higher than seafood, fish, and other items. Thus making even a single bite of whale meat toxic. And this is from JAPAN’S OWN SCIENTISTS, so anyone attempting to discount this information is also anti-Japanese and going against Japan if they attempt to say it doesn’t contain it. This is Japan’s own research science confirming that whale meat is contaminated with poisonous levels of toxins.

    Japanese Whalers are “harvesting” this meat, and then pushing it on Japanese citizens to ingest it. Therefore Japanese Whalers are mass-poisoning Japanese people.

    Methyl Mercury is also highly dangerous to children. It causes stunted brain growth, brain tissue damage, liver and organ damage, it lowers the I.Q of anyone who ingests it, it can cause deformed genitals, and one’s future children can be born with birth defects.

    96% OF JAPANESE PEOPLE DO NOT EAT & DO NOT WANT WHALE MEAT:

    Since in Japan 96% of the Japanese people do NOT eat whale meat, and over 90+% of Japanese people have NEVER eaten whale meat, in order to get rid of it, since it wasn’t selling, Japanese Whalers also attempted to push Whale Meat into the Japanese children’s school lunch program so that Japanese children would ingest it.

    This means that Japanese Whalers facilitate the poisoning, dumbing down of, and harm to their own families, and children!

    Thus, ANYONE supporting Japanese whalers, such as isanatori, is hurting Japanese people, and helping to taint Japanese children.

    ANYONE who is working to STOP Japanese whalers, such as SeaShepherd, is protecting the good Japanese people.

    Any person who is AGAINST whaling, such as todemko, anyone with SeaShepherd, and all anti-whalers is the FRIEND of JAPAN and is on the side of Japan, and FOR 96% of all the good Japanese people.

    WHALERS ARE *AGAINST* 96% of JAPANESE PEOPLE:

    Any person, therefore, who is cheering Japanese Whalers, who attempt to get Japanese citizens to ingest toxic contaminated meat, are AGAINST 96% of Japan. Any and all pro-whalers are ANTI-JAPANESE, working against over 96% of Japanese people, rooting merely for a tiny sect of less than 4%. In fact, subtracting the amount of mere children who are forced to eat the whale meat in compulsory served lunches, the 4% figure can be lowered even more. Probably eliminating another 2%, since they have less choice in the matter. And in fact, if one were to omit the eaters, who do NOT benefit by whale meat ingestion, but rather are hurt by it, and counted simply those who benefit from whaling, that would scrape it down to simply Japanese Whalers & the corporate owners of Kyodo Senpaku Kabushiki Kaisha (corporation). Thus, this means that pro-whalers are cheering for the benefit of a tiny group of fanatical extremist killers, killing whales, obtaining contaminated meat, poisoning their own Japanese people with it, including their families and children, and comprising perhaps 0.0009 of Japan’s population. This means that Japan-haters such as isanatori, and pro-whalers, are against 99.9999 of Japanese people, and merely support a small sect of corrupt killers who dishonor the Flag of Japan, shame their own country, and push their own Japanese people to eat poison meat. Such is the Anti-Japanese “frenchman” isanatori.

    And by the way, the data showing 96% of Japanese people DO NOT eat whale meat is again, from Japan’s own people. Anyone attempting to say it’s a lie is calling Japanese people a liar. This information is FROM Japanese people, by Japanese people, given by Japanese people, and published in Japan by Japanese news media. So anyone attempting to bad-mouth it or say its from someone else or some group is again anti-Japanese and calling Japan’s own researchers and Japanese people liars.

    ENDANGERED OR NOT OR LOOPHOLES OR NOT WHALERS ARE STILL POISONING JAPANESE CITIZENS:

    Also, it does NOT matter IF a whale is threatened, endangered, or plentiful, feeding its meat for human ingestion, in disregard of Japan’s OWN Health Ministry which has posted warnings against it, is an act of harm to the Majority of Japanese people.

    And, it does NOT matter IF some ship, in some waters, is there obtaining poison meat legally, or if some loop hole in IWC/ICRW allows some group of ECO-TERRORIST Japanese whale killers to destroy or damage the environment and obtain poison meat, the act of Japanese whalers procuring any of it, for human ingestion, by their own people, is an unconscionable act of mass-poisoning hundreds of thousands of good Japanese people with chemicals.

    Therefore, the Japanese Whalers, are a small faction of extremist killers, which comprise a mere 0.0001% of Japan’s population, who are using chemical (weapons) to contaminate and sicken and poison hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens, and that can be argued definitely qualifies as a TERRORIST ACT, by Japanese Whalers, Kyodo Senpaku corporation, and the Institute for Cetacean Research. All qualify as terrorist organizations, against Japan.

    SEA SHEPHERD IS THE FRIEND OF JAPAN & ITS GOOD JAPANESE PEOPLE:

    Sea Shepherd on the other hand, is the friend and protector of Japan. SeaShepherd by stopping whaling, will wash the shame and dishonor of Japanese Whalers off Japan’s good name. If whaling is stopped, then a burden will be lifted off the Japanese people. And SeaShepherd and anti-whalers will have allowed Japan’s name to shine and be proud once again. SeaShepherd and animal defenders by stopping whale killing will clean the black stain off of Japan’s flag cast there by a tiny special interest group of Japanese Whalers who dishonor Japan’s culture and Japan’s name.

    Paul Watson is the friend of 99.9999% of Japanese people! And not only saves whales, but saves the lives of all the good Japanese people, he saves Japanese children from being poisoned by unscrupulous Japanese whale killers, and works to restore grace and honor back to Japan.

    isanatori is working to maintain a cloud of stink on the good name of Japan. isanatori and Japanese Whalers work to benefit a minuscule pack of 0.0001% of merely criminal killers who hurt Japan, and attempt to feed whale meat laden with poisonous waste to Japanese children. isanatori is a typical Japanese-hater working along with pro-whalers which dishonor Japan and hurt Japanese people.

    EATING MEAT BETRAYS JAPANESE CULTURE:

    In addition, since eating meat is NOT Japanese culture, isanatori and pro-whalers also pollute Japanese tradition and culture. Japan is Buddhist and Shinto. In fact, many Buddhists don’t eat meat. Buddhism contains perhaps some of the most vegetarians in the world! Also, the Japanese emperor Tenmu BANNED THE EATING OF MEAT! This Japanese emporial ban remained the custom and tradition of Japan for over 1,200 years! That is over a millennium.

    A thousand years of Japanese cultural tradition, beats a western introduced habit of eating meat which was introduced by gaijin, foreigners!, during the occupation after world war 2! Japanese did NOT make a habit of massively eating whale meat! Eating whale meat was Forced ON Japanese people, after being atom-bombed, and occupied by westerners! Thus, isanatori again dishonors true Japanese culture, and is instead facilitating and forcing onto Japan, a practice which is NOT prevalent Japanese culture, but in reality isanatori, and pro-whalers are forcing a practice onto Japanese citizens that was forced on them by WESTERNERS!

    Actually, the ban on meat was by the very decree of the EMPEROR! (whale is meat, not a fish, it’s a mammal) So isanatori is actually defying the wishes of the Emperors of Japan! In Japan, the emperor is even regarded like a god. So isanatori and Japanese whalers, and anyone who touts whaling further defiles Japan’s religion, disobeys Japanese tradition, and offends Japanese culture by promoting an act which multiple emperors BANNED! And what they are doing, is cheering an act that shames Japan and brings stink upon the Good people in Japan, pro-whalers offend an entire line of Japanese Emperors, whale killing touters are bad buddhists, and anyone actually helping to continue the practice of procuring whale meat laced with toxic waste poisons Japanese people, including Japanese children and families! Shame on you. And 3 cheers for Sea Shepherd, protector of good Japan, and friend of all the Great Japanese people.

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