Showing posts with label Sea Shepherd. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sea Shepherd. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sea Shepherd delights at what WikiLeaks uncovered

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson
It was a victory, not to mention proof that what it is doing is working.

That was pretty much the reaction of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society when WikiLeaks revealed on Monday secret documents showing that Japan was pressuring the U.S. government to take action against the anti-whaling group by revoking its tax-exempt status.

Here's how the Sea Shepherd, home of Animal Planet's popular reality-TV show "Whale Wars," put it on its website:

Wikileaks Reveals Sea Shepherd is a Serious Concern
to Japan’s Illegal Whaling Operations

Wikileaks has revealed that the Japanese government views Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as a very serious threat to their illegal whaling activities. In a classified U.S. Department of State document released by Wikileaks to the El Pais newspaper in Spain, the Japanese Deputy General Director for the Japanese Fisheries Agency Mr. Yamashita, pointed out that “the harassment of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society had kept the Japanese whaling fleet from reaching its quotas these last few years.”

There it is! For all the critics who have been saying the anti-whaling campaigns have not been effective, Sea Shepherd holds the same position as the Japanese Fisheries Agency that the campaigns have been very effective, so effective in fact that Sea Shepherd has been discussed in high-level talks by Japanese government representatives with the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 
Go to the Sea Shepherd website for founder Paul Watson's comments. It's enlightening, if a bit long.
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Monday, January 3, 2011

WikiLeaks: 'Whale Wars' and Sea Shepherd face new battle

Sea Shepherd on the attack from a Zodiak in a previous
season. Photos from
If you love whales or you're a conservationist or animal rights activist, you might not like what WikiLeaks just made public, exposing confidential talks between the U.S. and Japanese governments over "Whale Wars."

U.S. diplomatic cables from November 2009 reveal that the Japanese government was (and presumably still is) pressuring the U.S. to weaken the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's efforts to harass the Japanese whaling fleet in exchange for a reduced whale quota.

The U.S. would weaken Sea Shepherd by revoking its tax-exempt status, and a cable reveals that the U.S. government told Japan that it believes it can succeed in doing so.

Yahoo!-associated GrindTV Outdoor was among the first media outlets to report the release of these details by WikiLeaks. GrindTV attempted to confirm with NOAA the validity of the documents and whether the U.S. is still considering taking action against Sea Shepherd, but a spokesman said the agency "does not comment on materials, including classified documents, which may have been leaked."

From a confidential cable labeled  09TOKYO2588 by WikiLeaks and made public Monday (though it's dated Jan. 1):  
Regarding the SSCS [Sea Shepherd], she [Monica Medina, the U.S. representative to the International Whaling Commission] said she believes the USG can demonstrate the group does not deserve tax exempt status based on their aggressive and harmful actions.
A Japanese whaling boat
In an earlier confidential cable labeled 09TOKYO2529, also released by WikiLeaks on Monday, Japan let the U.S. know that dealing with Sea Shepherd needs to be a priority in order for the IWC negotiations for whale-quota reductions to move forward:
[Shuji] Yamada [Japan's Vice-Minister for International Affairs] inquired about an investigation into the tax status of the U.S.-based NGO Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and repeated Japan's request for the U.S. to take action against the organization, which he said created a very dangerous situation on the seas. The DCM [an embassy diplomat] replied that the U.S. places the highest priority on the safety of vessels and human life at sea, and added that if any violations of U.S. law are discovered, we will take appropriate enforcement action. [Fisheries Agency Counselor Joji] Morishita went on to say it would be easier for Japan to make progress in the IWC negotiations if the U.S. were to take action against the Sea Shepherd.
The founder of Sea Shepherd is Paul Watson, whose efforts to prevent the whaling fleet from killing whales spurred the popular reality-TV series called "Whale Wars," which airs on Animal Planet. Watson seemed to shrug off the WikiLeaks report.

From the Associated Press: 
Paul Watson and his crew

Paul Watson [...] said Japan has previously pressured foreign governments to take action against the group, such as revoking the registration of its ships. He said the organization had last been audited about two years ago, which is before the exchanges detailed in the cables.

"We have had our tax status since 1981, and we have done nothing different since then to cause the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to change that," he told The Associated Press by telephone from his ship.
Watson and his anti-whaling fleet are currently in the Southern Ocean trying to do everything they can to prevent the Japanese whaling fleet from killing whales under the guise of research. Sea Shepherd added a new boat called Godzilla to the fleet this season. Read more about that here.

The Sea Shepherd fleet interrupts hunts by tossing stink bombs onto the Japanese vessels and positioning boats between the whalers and the whales. The intense confrontations make for interesting TV, but more importantly, it helps save hundreds of minke whales from getting harpooned.

The fourth season of "Whale Wars" will begin airing in June. This season's motto: Operation No Compromise.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

'Whale Wars': Godzilla joins the effort to save whales

Godzilla has terrorized Japanese moviegoers for decades. Now a new Godzilla is about to terrorize the Japanese whaling fleet.

Gojira, Godzilla in English and shown above in boat-form, is the newest addition to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s anti-whaling fleet.

Today, it is set to join the Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin, the other two Sea Shepherd vessels, in Hobart, Australia. They will set sail for the Southern Ocean on Thursday, embarking on their annual campaign to prevent the killing of whales.

You're probably familiar with Sea Shepherd. The anti-whaling group has become famous because of “Whale Wars,” a weekly reality television series that debuted on Animal Planet on Nov. 7, 2008.

[Related: WikiLeaks drop a bombshell]

The show details the harassing encounters the Sea Shepherd fleet has with the Japanese whalers each year in the Southern Ocean, all in the name of saving whales.

Wrote GrindTV Outdoors about the newest Sea Shepherd vessel: “Gojira, which can easily out-run the larger Japanese vessels, will be used to help locate the factory ship, which processes whales killed by crews aboard harpoon boats; to try to thwart harpooning; and to prevent delivery of harpooned whales to the factory ship.”

Very sleek and intimidating; and note the Godzilla decal near the bow.

“I think we did bloody well this year, and 528 whales were saved,” Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said about last season on the “Whale Wars” site. “We won’t stop until whaling ends.”

The Sea Shepherd has been trying to stop the killing for six years, going on the offensive during the season which runs from December through February or March.

“I can guarantee we’re going to cut their quota in half, but we’re aiming for 100 percent this year,” Watson said via the Australian Associated Press.

“We’re prepared for their aggression, we’re stronger and better prepared and better equipped than ever... Every year we go down stronger and they go down weaker, so we’re slowly beating them down.

“I think we’re winning this. Most telling of all is that for the first time ever the Japanese fleet hasn’t left. They usually leave between the 9th and 19th of November.

“Whether they’re coming down at all, we don’t even know yet.”

According to what Greenpeace Japan officials told the Japan Times, the fleet is late in leaving because it hasn’t secured a refueling vessel for the trip.

No doubt it will, and the intense pressure will begin.

[Get rid of costly cable/satellite bills. Click Here Now!]

Even on land the pressure is intensifying on the whaling fleet to cut down on whaling. The Japan Times reports that the International Whaling Commission submitted a proposal in April for the fleet to reduce its quota from 800 to 200 over the next 10 years.

And in May, Australia launched legal action at the International Court of Justice in the Hague to stop Japan’s research whaling in the Antarctic.

As it is, the fleet’s annual take has continued to decline because of the Sea Shepherd's efforts, the methods and madness of which make great reality TV.

The fourth season of “Whale Wars” will begin airing in early June 2011. This season’s motto: Operation No Compromise.

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