Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
Finally after 2 years of Greenpeace Japan wasting the time and resources of Japanese authorities and taxpayers (not to mention their own dubiously obtained funding), tomorrow two activists will be judged for trespassing on the property of the Seino transportation company and taking off with a cardboard box shipped by a Nisshin Maru crew member, which contained whale meat.
To recap, back in May of 2008, Greenpeace Japan organized a huge media scrum around some supposedly devastating evidence of wrong doing by crew members of Japan's research whaling operations in the Antarctic. This was to be a huge coup for Greenpeace after they had found themselves crowded out of the Antarctic whaling vessel harassment industry by the even crazier and more violent Sea Shepherd organization. As perhaps the founding member of the commercial anti-whaling industry, Greenpeace had long opposed whaling as part of their branding, and had tried a range of dirty tricks to bring it to an end, all without success. By 2008, they had found themselves marginalized by the Sea Shepherd organization. But with this story of "stolen whale meat", they thought they had finally scored a king hit against whaling.
"Greenpeace investigation: Japan's stolen whale meat scandal
", read their headline.
The cover page of their glossy "dossier"
, used for Greenpeace propaganda (=revenue generating) purposes, was an image of a package, with the caption reading "Stolen whale meat intercepted by Greenpeace Japan
Contained within the document are further images of the whale meat, with captions such as "23.5 kilos of stolen whale meat secured as evidence by Greenpeace Japan", and "The Greenpeace investigators retained the box in order to carry out further investigations prior to presenting all the evidence to the authorities.
It was compelling stuff, making headlines on my mobile phone news service that morning - except for two big problems: One, the existence of a box of whale meat did not constitute evidence of theft.
Two, how did Greenpeace Japan come to "secure" the box of whale meat?
(since when were Greenpeace activists "investigators"?)
As Greenpeace note, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors' Office undertook to investigate the allegations against the whaling crew members
, as was to be expected. If wrong doing had occurred on the part of the whalers then naturally it should be investigated and dealt with appropriately.
However, as Sankei reported a month later on June 20
It appears that the the Tokyo Prosecutors' Office will drop the investigation into whaling crew members. It is believed that the prosecutors have judged that the charge of embezzlement is not satisfied, as the shipping company that employs the crew members had purchased the whale meat and distributed it to the crew in recognition of their services.
So not only was the whale meat package not evidence of theft, there was no theft at all by the whaling crew members. The whale meat was revealed to be essentially part of their remuneration package.
Meanwhile, shortly after Greenpeace's high profile media scrum in May, the Seino transportation company had filed a claim due to theft with Aomori police regarding the missing package. Aomori police later revealed around June 13 that they were investigating Greenpeace members on theft charges. Greenpeace in response revealed that they had sent an apology to Seino for the trouble they had caused them (mainly through damage to their reputation as a transportation company as Greenpeace's acquisition of the package raised concerns about Seino security practices), but at the same time refused to apologise to the crew member
whose whale meat they had stolen. "We're the ones accusing him of theft, why should we apologise?
", a Greenpeacer is quoted as saying.
A week later, on the same day as the investigation of false charges against whaling crew were confirmed to be dropped, Greenpeace Japan's Shinjuku offices were searched by authorities and the two activists directly involved in the theft and trespass operation were arrested.
* * *
What ensued since then has been a massive charade by Greenpeace Japan and their international mother organization. The two arrested activists have been turned into yet further propaganda material for Greenpeace, and rather than humbly accept that they made a mistake, they have changed the story from their original investigation determined to try to demonstrate some kind of illegality on the part of the crew members so as to try to justify their own actions. This has seen their trial be dragged out for a rather long time. Further they refused to accept the non-prosecution of the whaling crew members, triggering a review of the decision by an independent panel of Japanese citizens. That panel verified the non-prosecution decision
, yet Greenpeace Japan continued to arrogantly and self-righteously complain, rather than accept and acknowledge the Japanese justice system and its processes.
This organization and it's followers are without objective thought.
It is the whales. Greenpeace activists are of a cult-like belief that "whaling is wrong", and that as they are opposed to whaling, "Greenpeace is right". Everything else gets tacked on as an after thought or justification for anything, including their criminal behaviour here.A recent blog post by the two "activists" / criminals is quite revealing
. See the following statements:
"It’s a long way from where it was when this case started – our investigation to end Japan’s whaling."
"... we were closing in on evidence that could finally end this whaling programme."
" ... it was clear that the only place Japanese whaling would ever be ended was at home in Japan. When we intercepted a box of embezzled whale meat, we knew we finally had the evidence to prove the corrupt nature of the industry and shut it down by bringing an end to its huge taxpayer subsidies. "
As is evident through these comments (note they are prepared for and English audience, rather than a Japanese one), the goal of Greenpeace was always to attack the whaling programme. This is a core component of Greenpeace's commercial branding. First and foremost, Greenpeace's goal is to attack and see whaling activities end, and through generation of related propaganda materials, secure donations from anti-whaling constituencies. Everything else is any old excuse they happen to think of. Their logic in itself is juvenile. Were the program having problems of the nature that Greenpeace had alleged, those problems would have been tidied up, and the research whaling programme would still continue.
What this was was Greenpeace finding themselves no longer able to effectively compete for media attention in the Antarctic, and thus trying a new tactic of attacking the whaling crew members with claims of theft and corruption. All of which when investigated by professionals, rather than the zealot anti-whaling amateurs from Greenpeace, were found to be false.
* * *Kyodo Tsushin has a brief on the case and it's verdict, due tomorrow
. Here's my rough translation and comments.
The defence lawyers have argued that Greenpeace's taking of the meat was not for the purpose of taking ownership, but to accuse whaling crew members of embezzlement, therefore (they argue) the conditions of theft are not satisfied.
Of course, one has to point out that Greenpeace did not need to trespass and steal the meat in order to simply make their accusations of theft. Furthermore it's interesting to recall that the whale meat images featured extremely prominently in Greenpeace's propaganda materials. There was also an unnaturally long amount of time between the theft of the meat and Greenpeace's submission of it as "evidence" to the Prosecutor's office (and only after request to do so). Their claims would be more convincing had they submitted the evidence prior
to using it for their propaganda purposes, rather than after
it and the request from the real officials. At it's core, Greenpeace generates its income and pays its salaries through production of propaganda and consequent acquisition of donations, so to my mind the two activists certainly had intent to obtain the whale meat illegally (even if they are too blinded by their own whaling beliefs to recognise this themselves).
Also during the trial Greenpeace have continued with their accusations of embezzlement, and Kyodo Tsushin notes that attention is being given to whether the judgement gives mention to whether or not embezzlement by the whaling crew members occurred.
Three points of contention have been gone over at the trial. 1) Whether there was intent to illegally take possession of the whale meat by the activists, 2) whether it can be regarded as justifiable behaviour and 3) whether it can come under protection from the right of freedom of expression as guaranteed in the Japanese constitution and international human rights treaties.
The prosecution has argued that the treaties "do not permit one to infringe upon the property and custodial rights of others", and is calling for 18 months prison sentences.
The defence has said that even if the decision finds there was intent to illegally take possession of the whale meat, "the public good of having disclosed the organized whale meat embezzlement is greater than the detriment caused by the taking of the whale meat, and thus illegality should be excused."
I am confident that they will be convicted. If their logic were to apply, it would then also be justified for crazed anti-whaling activists / "investigators" to break and enter my premises to take off with the whale meat cans sitting on my desk as "evidence" (or whatever they dream up), or for me to break and enter Greenpeace Japan premises in search of evidence of illegal doings, etc.
Further, that Greenpeace would argue that they were seeking to do something for the "public good" is typical of their self-righteous mentality, which needs to be rectified. Greenpeace's role is not as a public good organization, but for campaigning on a select collection of issues which their supporters and their supporters alone fund, of their own twisted volition in the case of whaling. Greenpeace does not represent nor work for the public, as do genuine authorities and investigators, and Greenpeace activists clearly lack the necessary objectivity to act in such a role here. Greenpeace has a right to campaign, to represent the views of its supporters, but it does not have the right to commit crimes in the name of those campaigns.
I both expect and hope that the judgement tomorrow will recognise these points.
Unfortunately, I also expect that Greenpeace will continue to drag this out by appealing the decision if it goes against them. Either way, I doubt Greenpeace Japan has a long future ahead of it in Japan.