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December 26, 2012

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US Bans Sea Shepherd Anti-Whaling Tactics

Analysis by DiscoveryNews Editors

API Editor's Note - this is background information on whaling situation:
Japan Offered Prostitutes to Sway Whaling Votes
June 2010

Sea Shepherd whaling Paul Watson

Japanese officials bribed six small nations with offers of cash and call girls in return for their votes in favor of slaughtering whales, according to a newspaper investigation.

Japan denies the accusations, but the Sunday Times reported that two of  its journalists filmed government officials from six countries admitting they were  bribed by Japan to vote with the pro-whalers:

News of the sting comes as Japan seeks to overturn a 24-year  moratorium on commercial whaling at the meeting of the International Whaling  Commission next week in Agadir, Morocco.

“This is what Japan does, they try to advance their agenda of  killing whales and killing dolphins by whatever means necessary,” C.T. Ryder,  president of the Maui-based Earth Foundation and one of the promoters of the Oscar-winning dolphin-slaughter documentary, “The Cove,” told AOL News today.

“The problem is, our president is not doing anything. The whales,  the dolphins — they are part of what’s happening with the gulf oil spill.  President Obama needs to really take a stand.”

Two reporters from the Sunday Times pretended to be the lobbyists  of a fictional Swiss billionaire and set out to buy votes at the IWC meeting.

Officials from six countries told the undercover reporters they  would consider their offer but warned them that they had to offer a better  deal than what they were already getting from the Japanese.

The six countries named in the Times investigation are St. Kitts  and Nevis, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Grenada, Ivory Coast and Guinea.

About 35,000 whales have been killed by Japan, Norway and Iceland  since the moratorium was introduced. In Japan’s case, the killings have been  justified as “scientific research,” although whale meat is eaten in dishes such as sashimi.

If all the nations present at next week’s IWC meeting vote in  favor of overturning the whaling moratorium, whaling nations will be able to  kill 1,800 whales a year.

So-called “scientific whaling” will end, but anti-whalers fear  the new quotas may open the way for a return to the widespread whaling that  almost destroyed some species in the 1980s.

Those against whaling say overturning the moratorium would be the  culmination of a long campaign by Japan to win support for whaling by bribing  the poorest nations to vote along with them.

Japan is believed to have the backing of at least 38 of the IWC’s  88 members, including three landlocked countries. It needs 66 votes, or 75  percent of the vote.

The Sunday Times said that Japanese officials bribed the  countries with cash payments distributed at IWC meetings by Japanese officials  who also paid their travel and hotel bills.

One official told the Times that call girls were offered when  fisheries ministers and civil servants visited Japan for meetings.

The top fisheries official for Guinea said Japan slipped his  minister a “minimum” of $1,000 a day spending money in cash during IWC and  other fisheries meetings.

He said three Japanese organizations were used to channel the  payments to his country: the fisheries agency, the aid agency and the Overseas  Fisheries Co-operation Foundation.

Tanzanian officials told the Times reporters that “good girls”  were made available at the hotels for ministers and senior fisheries civil  servants during all-expenses paid trips to Japan.

[AOL News, Dana Kennedy:]

This entry was posted on Friday, June 18th, 2010 at 7:30 am and  is filed under Knowledge:

Sea Shepherd whale
The Steve Irwin in Fremantle, Australia. CREDIT: Sea Shepherd FB photo
Current 2012

US conservation group Sea Shepherd vowed to fight a court order to stay at least 500 yards away from Japanese whaling ships, and to keep protecting whales "with our ships and our lives".

The injunction was ordered by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in the latest step in a legal battle between the anti-whaling group and Japanese authorities over vessels in the Southern Ocean.

PHOTOS: Sea Monsters Real and Imagined

It said Sea Shepherd and Canadian militant conservationist Paul Watson, who is wanted by Interpol, "are enjoined from physically attacking any vessel engaged by plaintiffs", including Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research.

In addition, they are banned from "navigating in a manner that is likely to endanger the safe navigation of any such vessel", said the order, issued on Monday.

"In no event shall defendants approach plaintiffs any closer than 500 yards (meters) when defendants are navigating on the open sea," it added. The joint plaintiffs are Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha, Ltd., Tomoyuki Ogawa and Toshiyuki Miura.

In a statement, the Institute of Cetacean Research and Kyodo Senpaku said they "welcome" the injunction, which remains in force until the US court issues its opinion on the currently pending appeal.

Shigehito Numata, an official in charge of whaling at the Japan's Fisheries Agency, told AFP in Tokyo: "Sea Shepherd carries out sabotage in the form of acts of violence that endanger the life and assets of the research fleet and its crew.

ANALYSIS: Japan Tsunami Funds Aid Whaling Fleet

"We hope that the injunction will help the whaling and research mission in the Antarctic Ocean to be conducted safely and smoothly."

Charles Moure, an attorney for Oregon-based Sea Shepherd, told AFP in an email that the court injunction was "very disappointing," adding: "We intend to fight the order."

It was not immediately clear what impact the ruling would have, or how it would be enforced.

It follows the issuing in August of an arrest notice by Interpol for Watson, Sea Shepherd's founder, who had jumped bail in Germany in July.

He had been arrested there on charges from Costa Rica relating to a high-seas confrontation over shark finning in 2002.

In a statement on its website, Sea Shepherd called the new US court ruling "the first shot of the season" by Japanese whalers.

"It is a complex situation whereby a United States Court is issuing an injunction against Dutch and Australian vessels carrying an international crew, operating out of Australia and New Zealand in international waters," it said.

"In addition the Court has ignored the fact that the Japanese whalers are in contempt of a court order by the Australian Federal Court and the whaling takes place in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary."

It vowed to continue to protect whales in the Southern Ocean, saying that Japan's fleet "will find when they arrive that we will still be there guarding the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary with our ships and our lives.

"We will defend these whales as we have for the last eight years -- non-violently and legally," said Watson, quoted in the statement.

ANALYSIS: Selling Whales to Save Them?

Confrontations between the whalers and activists have escalated in recent years, and the Japanese cut their hunt short in early 2011 due to Sea Shepherd harassment.

Japan hunts whales using a loophole in a global moratorium that allows killing the sea mammals for what it calls "scientific research", although the meat is later sold openly in shops and restaurants.

Watson, whose whereabouts had been a mystery since July, confirmed this month that he is back onboard a Sea Shepherd vessel and ready to confront Japanese whalers.

Sea Shepherd's ninth campaign, named Operation Zero Tolerance, is its largest ever against Japan's whale hunt and involves four ships, a helicopter, three drones and more than 100 crew members.

Three of the vessels, the Steve Irwin, Bob Barker and Brigitte Bardot, are all at sea while the Sam Simon is at an undisclosed location.

-- by AFP source

Sea Shepherd whaling Paul Watson
Defiant ... Paul Watson and the ship Steve Irwin. A US court has issued an injunction. Photo: Supplied

source adds to above information

''We are 100 per cent committed to saving whales down here, that's why we're calling it Operation Zero Tolerance,'' he said on Wednesday.

''This campaign requires courage, passion and imagination - now it's time to throw some imagination into it."

He said the Japanese had engaged in aggressive acts against his group without being held to account, and lawyers for Sea Shepherd would look at appeal options.

An Australian National University international law professor, Donald Rothwell, said the order would be almost impossible to enforce, but could create problems for Sea Shepherd in the future.

''Because Sea Shepherd is a registered company in the United States and has its headquarters in the state of Washington, Sea Shepherd would be subject to consequences under US law if it failed to abide by the injunction,'' he said on Wednesday. ''Paul Watson does hold a US passport and could be held in contempt of court and arrested in the US.''

Acting Greens Leader Adam Bandt condemned any violent protest, but said Sea Shepherd was the only group monitoring whether international whaling laws were being complied with.

''We should be clear the right to peacefully protest is not only paramount, but the Sea Shepherd is the only one out there attempting to uphold the law.''


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