The Mouse that Roared: Sea Shepherd versus the Empire of the Rising Sun
An Animal Rights Article from


Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
August 2008

We have hurt the Japanese whaling industry. We have hurt them very badly and they are angry, extremely angry.

We are beginning to receive a firestorm of political, economic, and media pressure to stop us from returning to the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary to protect the whales from the illegal whaling activities of the Japanese whaling industry.

The Japanese media is spewing propaganda about Sea Shepherd with fabricated stories designed to make us look like violent terrorists and criminals despite the fact that we have never injured a single person nor have we ever been sued or convicted of a felony anywhere in the world.

The Japanese police have recently issued international arrest warrants for three Sea Shepherd crewmembers for actions occurring in February 2007 when the Japanese whaler Kaiko Maru rammed the Sea Shepherd ship Robert Hunter.

The ramming was investigated by an Australian Federal Police forensics team and the evidence absolves Sea Shepherd and demonstrates that it was the Japanese whaler that hit the Robert Hunter.

All three men targeted by Japan with the arrest warrants were not the ranking officers or the captain of the ship. One was the medical officer, the 2nd was the Bosun and the third was a deckhand. Targeting these unpaid volunteers makes little sense. Not one of them did anything different than the other crew on the ship and not one of them instigated the actions. The responsibility for all actions on the ship lies with the Captain yet the Japanese have not charged me with anything.

I believe they have not charged me because I am the last person they want sitting in the docket as a political prisoner using the Japanese courts to condemn their blatant violations of international conservation law.

These charges are clearly political and we do not expect Interpol to act on them because warrants are not red-flagged if they are of a political nature. It is inconceivable that the United States or the United Kingdom would extradite their own citizens to Japan for saving whales from illegal whaling activities. But it could happen. Japan is not Darfur. What the Japanese want they usually get.

Japan is leaning heavy on other nations to shut down Sea Shepherd offices in their countries and to pull their flags from our vessels.

They were successful in bullying Canada, Britain, the Cayman Islands and Belize into removing our flags. Our Belize registry lasted only 9 days although that was enough for us to depart from Hobart, Australia in December 2006. The remainder of the trip we were forced to sail under the Black flag only. Fortunately the Dutch responded by saying they did not take their orders from Tokyo.

And the Mohawks stepped forward and presented us with the flag of the Five Nations. Although this flag is not recognized as a legal maritime flag, we are grateful for the support of one of the few nations on this planet, along with the Netherlands, that we have total respect for.

Our small non-governmental organization is clearly in the sights of one of the most powerful economic super powers on the planet.

We are receiving some very nasty death threats and hackers from Japan have been attacking our website.

Japan bullied the International Whaling Commission into condemning Sea Shepherd’s actions. This does not concern us very much because the IWC also condemned Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and Japan simply ignored them. We of course will do the same.

Do we surrender? Do we retreat?

Of course we don’t.

What we do now is to rally our strength to not only defend ourselves from Japanese political pressure but to also escalate our actions to defend and save even more whales next season than we were able to protect earlier this year.

Having risked our lives, health and our freedom to defend endangered whales in four previous campaigns to Antarctica, we will not be deterred by Japanese threats and obstacles from returning once again to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to defend the whales.

What continues to amaze me is that the wealthy nation of Japan is spending so much money and effort on a program to slaughter endangered and protected whales in a whale sanctuary and other nations are cowering like sycophantic vassals in their political corners in economic fear that they may offend these outlaw butchers.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society may be destroyed over this campaign. Japanese economic and political pressure may tear our organization apart, it may impoverish us, it may jail us and it may even kill some of us.

But we have no choice but to continue our opposition to their illegal activities even if such a stand cuts us down. This may be a losing cause but losing causes are the only causes worth fighting for.

Our clients are the great whales, the Fins, the Humpbacks and the Piked and we will defend the security of the whale sanctuary in the face of anything that the whale killers intend to throw at us be they bureaucrats, politicians, mercenaries, military or the Yakusa.

Earlier this year the Japanese Coast Guard shot at us and hurled concussion grenades at the crew. One bullet was stopped by my Kevlar vest and our audio on our cameras recorded four distinct gunshots. The entire confrontation was captured on film from both sides.

When the Japanese whalers seized two of our crew they actually sent a ransom note saying they would not release them until we agreed to no longer disrupt their whale killing activities.

We do not have any illusions about the violent nature of our opposition. They slaughter the gentle giants with a ruthlessness that has no compassion with the killing of any other animal by man on this planet. Driving exploding harpoons into their entrails, shredding their internal organs with shrapnel as hot blood gushes out in geysers into the frigid ocean. The whales thrash and convulse in horrific agony as they struggle in vain to hold their heads above the water. And as they struggle, whalers fire bullets into their bodies and stab them with electric lances sending high voltage through their bodies. Yet despite this, the whales cling to life for anywhere from ten minutes to nearly an hour.

And despite the video evidence, despite the eye witness testimony to these atrocities, they arrogantly look into the camera to say that the slaughter is “humane”.

And despite shooting at us and throwing concussion grenades, despite ramming our ships, they have the audacity to accuse us if being violent for blocking their deadly harpoons and tossing rotten butter onto their decks.

The thugs that crew these ships belong to a Yakusa controlled labour union. Many of them are capable of using lethal force to defend their crimes.

And we, we who are so few, come from around the world to oppose them. For four Christmas and New Year holidays we have left family and friends to voyage through the most savage seas on the planet to one of the most remote and hostile regions on the globe to place our bodies on the line to defend these magnificent and gentle sentient beings.

And for this, governments condemn us, media critics revile us, whalers hurl ridiculous accusations at us and the government of Japan is unleashing all of their diplomatic, military and political might to stop us.

What this means is that we are winning. Our voyages to the Southern Ocean have cost the whaling industry tens of millions of dollars. Ruthless Japanese whaling operations are being seen by people around the world, and in Japan, many citizens are beginning to question the policies of a government that is condoning and supporting at great taxpayer’s expense, one of the most senseless and illegal massacres of any species on the planet.

Our message to Japan is this; Destroy us if you must, jail us, shoot us, sink our ships, tear our organization apart, maim us and kill us if you will, BUT we will not retreat, we will never surrender, we will never forsake the lives of the whales, we will never abandon them to your merciless harpoons and like the samurai of old we will serve our clients the whales with honour, with dignity and with absolute resolve for as long as there is breath in our bodies and blood in our veins, and if we fall, our cause will be picked up by others and it will continue and our opposition to your industry of cruelty and death will never die.

We are appealing for the support of all people who care about saving the whales and the oceans. Help us to shut down this high seas nightmare of bloody death. Help us to end the screaming of dying whales. Support us in our efforts to stop the flow of the hottest blood into the coldest of seas. We have these killers on the ropes. We can end their atrocities, we can stop the slaughter. We are almost there.

We need your support to survive against the onslaught of power from the Japanese whaling industry and government now being directed at us.

They want to destroy the whales and the whalers are seeking to destroy us. You can help save Sea Shepherd, so we can continue to defend these most magnificent giants from the lethal material desires of a criminal industry that has no compassion, and exists only to extract deadly profit from the extermination of the living.

In three months we will depart for the Southern Ocean to the coast of the Antarctic continent to engage the whaling fleet again. And when we arrive the killing will stop and no whales will die while we chase and harass their criminal killers.

Our success depends on you. Every whale we save is a whale that you have helped to save.

Last year we prevented them from killing over 500 whales. They did not take a single Humpback or a single Fin whale and regrettably they killed half their quota of Piked whales. And they lost tens of millions of dollars. We defeated and humiliated them and now they are seeking revenge.

We will continue to save lives.

We will not surrender!

For more information, visit Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

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