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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



Greenpeace guilty as charged

Two Greenpeace activists were today convicted as charged for trespass and theft. The judge was extremely lenient on them giving them a 1 year sentence suspended for 3 years.

Also as I predicted here yesterday, the convicted criminals have indicated that they plan to appeal the decision, wasting yet more tax payer resources for their propaganda purposes. Alas the justice system was not designed with self-righteous propaganda spin organizations such as Greenpeace in mind.

Not only this, Greenpeace has already tried to turn the coverage of the conviction into yet another propaganda opportunity. Greenpeace clearly have no respect for the law or democratic institutions.

But you have to laugh (if not cry) at the western media. Take this from Australia today:
A Japanese court will today deliver its verdict in the trial of two Greenpeace activists charged with stealing whale meat.

Dubbed the Tokyo Two, the Japanese Greenpeace activists admit to ...

"Dubbed the Tokyo Two"? It was Greenpeace Internationals' own propaganda machine that came up with this moniker in the first place. The moniker is not even accurate - one of the criminals' does not have a Tokyo address, and they committed the crimes in Aomori prefecture, hundreds of kilometres north of Tokyo.

It is an indictment on the western media that they regurgitate Greenpeace propaganda without any independent verification of the facts. That the incident occurred in Japanese-speaking Japan is no excuse. Media have an moral obligation to report facts, not biased nonobjective nonsense spouted by Greenpeace's propaganda machine.




Greenpeace activists judgement tomorrow

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.




Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution also clears whalers

Breaking news - multiple Japanese news sources (Jiji, Yomiuri for example) report that a Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution issued a decision dated April 22 that states that the non-prosecution of whaling ship crew members, who took whale meat home with them, was appropriate.

Self-proclaimed environmental NGO, Greenpeace Japan, had accused whaling crew members of "embezzling" some of the whale meat that eventuated from their ship's research whaling activities. The Tokyo First Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution determined that a decision by prosecutors in June 2008 to not prosecute (by reason of "no suspicion") 12 crew members of the research whaling vessel Nisshin Maru was "appropriate".

Greenpeace had recently lodged a complaint over this non-prosecution, requesting that the decision be reviewed. The resulting Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution (made up of 11 civilians selected at random) has now also recognised that the whale meat taken by the crew members consisted of souvenirs, the crew's food, and other meat that was unsuitable for further processing and would otherwise simply be disposed of, and that the owner, Kyodo Senpaku had approved the taking of this meat.

As such the Committee regarded the actions as not constituting embezzlement.

Meanwhile, 2 members of Greenpeace, which alleged the embezzlement by whalers, are currently on trial in Aomori after being arrested on charges of theft and trespass, for stealing a box of the whale meat from a transport depot in Aomori city that they later used for PR purposes when making their accusations amongst much media fanfare.

According to reports from the trial in Aomori, Greenpeace Japan has, rather than acknowledging their crimes and taking their punishment, continued to make claims of embezzlement in an attempt to try to "justify" the trespass and theft committed by their 2 members.

My take - now that even a committee of 11 non-government affiliated civilians has reviewed the situation, you'd think that everyone would accept that there was no embezzlement on the part of the whalers. However, Greenpeace Japan appears to be thriving off wasting tax payers time and money, and I suspect that they will still not accept this latest decision against their fabricated accusations of wrong-doing by whalers.




More on Iceland's fin whale meat

We got an update earlier in the month on the status of the new commercial whaling operation being run in Iceland by Kristjan Loftsson.

As one might expect, Greenpeace have gone off and put their propaganda machine to work:

* * * * *

Greenpeace swings and misses

Endangered Whales – Hunted, Stockpiled and Left to Rot on a Rubbish Dump
Nice headline guys... but really?
The Icelandic government's claims of sustainable whaling were harpooned today, after Greenpeace revealed that around 200 tonnes of meat and blubber from endangered fin whales are still in storage, waiting to be tested for chemical contamination and a further 179 tonnes of bones and entrails have been dumped in a landfill site. This information has come to light after an investigation by Greenpeace campaigners in Icelanc.
1) What's wrong with a commercial operator confirming the safety of it's product for human consumption? I'd like to know the product were safe before I buy some (and if I can get my hands on some once it arrives in Tokyo you know I will!)

2) Bones aren't exactly edible, last time I heard. In fact, people tend to use them for other purposes, like carving. Nor is the market for "entrails" on fire. How many westerners out there enjoy cow intestines on a regular basis?

(As it happens, with some whale species, such as the Antarctic minke, pretty much the entire whale can be consumed, but in many species found in the northern hemisphere, contaminant levels in the internals of the animal are above recommended consumption limits.)
The Icelandic whale meat and blubber are intended for export to Japan, despite whaler´s claims that some of the generated product is not fit for human consumption.
Who wants a bet that this statement is a typical Greenpeace misinterpretation of what was actually said?
The Japanese whaling fleet is currently preparing to hunt 10 more fin whales and 935 minke whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, despite having massive stockpiles of more than 4400 tonnes of unsold whale meat in freezers in Japan.
"Massive" stockpiles? There was more than 1,300,000 tonnes of frozen marine product in stockpiles in Japan at the end of November 2006. On what scale is the 4,400 tonnes of whale meat that was in stock at that point in time "massive"?

* * * * *

Icelanders respond

Environment protection organization Greenpeace claims that the meat of the whales that were hunted in Iceland last autumn cannot be sold in Japan and is consequently piling up.

According to Fréttabladid, Greenpeace spokesman Frode Pleym said there is a very limited market for whale meat in Japan and that it is used for school kitchens and dog food, leaving no reason to continue whaling.

“These supplies don’t scare me. Weren’t they talking about 4,700 tons? That is comparable to every Japanese eating 37 grams of whale a year. Or if one-fifth of the nation would eat whale once a year, this would be enough for one 200-gram steak for each person,” Kristján Loftsson, the director of whaling company Hvalur hf. told Morgunbladid.

He added: “These are almost no supplies at all, if they are right that is. These guys [Greenpeace] are hardly ever right. It is not favorable for business to have no supplies […]. Samples from the meat are being investigated to see if it contains heavy metal such as quick silver and PCB. It is complicated and takes a long time.”

Jón Gunnarsson, the director of Sjávarnytjar ehf., told Fréttabladid: “We have investigated the whale meat market in Japan very carefully and this product is sold there for a high price. […] Nothing indicates that we won’t be able to sell the whale meat.”

The Greenpeace figures of 4,400 tonnes at the end of November 2006 are correct (I corrected them myself), but where they are wrong is in trying to make out that this amount of meat constitutes a "massive" stock, as I illustrate above with some context.

Loftsson is dead right to point out that it is not good business to be out of stock. When your consumers want something, you need to be able to supply it - and the bulk of the whale meat in the Japanese market arrives in March/April and again during the summer months. For the rest of the year, supply is very limited. It has to be stocked to ensure availability for consumers during those times.

I also concur with Mr. Gunnarsson. From a demand perspective, there is going to be no problem selling the meat, it's just a matter of the paperwork. I'm not sure what that entails, but I assume that DNA samples from the whale meat to allow market monitoring will probably be required by officials for market monitoring purposes.

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JARPA II 2006/2007 Update #13

There is little in the way of interesting news coming out of the Australian and New Zealand media. The story is only barely getting coverage in New Zealand, and while there are more reports coming out of Australia, a lot of them seem to originate from a single reporter (Andrew Darby - he comes up with some useful info from time to time).

So this update is just a brief round-up

1) Sea Shepherd left Australia around the 9th of January, and were reported to be ready to start "hunting" the whalers a week later (see Update #8). It's the 25th of January today and they haven't yet found them.

2) On the 15th, Ian Campbell unleashed a volley of rhetoric, saying "I will not grant permission to Japanese whaling vessels or support vessels to use Australian ports ... They are banned from Australian ports as long as I'm the Minister."

No big deal. The ICR vessels don't stop over in Australia on their way back to Japan, anyway.

3) Sea Shepherd responded again to Ian Campbell's previously coddling of the Greenpeace activists:
The water cannons are easily avoided. We have never been hit with them for the simple reason that we have not placed ourselves in the path of them. Greenpeace activists deliberately place themselves in the path of the water cannons for dramatic effect. ... We are not the victims down here and Greenpeace should not be trying to make themselves the victims. ... We are not interested in stories of people whining about how violent the Japanese are to people. If someone gets knocked into the water by a water cannon then that is the reason they came down here. Besides that is what survival suits are for.

4) Still, on the 19th, New Zealand "Conservation Minister" Chris Carter, issued a "yeah, and us too", in this press release:
"Japan's whaling fleet is not welcome in New Zealand ports".

Speaking at a reception onboard the Greenpeace vessel – Esperanza in Auckland today, the Minister also urged all parties involved in this year's whaling protests to exercise restraint.

Before entering a New Zealand port any ship carrying whale products would need to apply, under the provisions of the Marine Mammals Protection Act, for a permit from the Minister of Conservation.

Chris Carter said he would not grant such a permit and reiterated the New Zealand Government's strong opposition to Japan's whaling programme in the Southern Ocean.
So no big deal there. In the same press release he also expressed concern about Greenpeace activists getting squirted with water cannons. Does Carter get all his ideas from Campbell or something?

On Sea Shepherd:
"I am very concerned by recent statements made by Captain Watson and the battle modifications made to his ships."
Carter shares his own master plan:
"The best way of solving this issue would be for Japan to abandon whaling and join other nations in respecting and conserving marine species that could be facing extinction ".
Astute and constructive stuff there from the man in charge in New Zealand...

5) On the 23rd, Ian Campbell was dumped as Environment Minister by John Howard, to be replaced by a chap named Malcolm Turnbull. This article describes Campbell as "colourless", his replacement as a "razor-quick lawyer and businessman".

I reluctantly have to say farewell to Ian Campbell - I will miss his huffing, puffing and excited bluster, as it has provided good humour value, but on a more serious level, my impression has always been that Campbell doesn't seem to have much common sense. Perhaps I have this impression because Campbell has had to try to defend Australia's hypocritical policies regarding resource management issues, so maybe I am being a little bit rough.

Bad luck, mate.

6) Oh yeah, Greenpeace. After hanging out in Auckland for 2 weeks, apparently they are leaving tomorrow, after the ICR fleet has been whaling for almost 7 weeks already.

TVNZ has a 5 minute video clip from "Close Up", giving Greenpeace the media attention that they crave. If you don't live in New Zealand and want to see a good example of typically biased coverage of the issue, I can recommend it. Greenpeace Japan's Junichi Sato also makes an appearance, basically regurgitating standard Greenpeace propaganda.

I've had a bit to say about the partiality of TVNZ previously...

Greenpeace's whalelove webpage has also now got it's content underway. I've not viewed it yet - and am still wondering whether I should bother :-)

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Greenpeace propaganda contradictions and factual errors

Just watching Greenpeace's "Ocean Defenders TV" (see "Return to the Southern Ocean"), I couldn't help but scratch my head and wonder. Here are some of the things they are saying:

Karli Thomas:
"The 1000 whales that will be killed this year in the Southern Ocean are just the tip of the iceberg. What we're concerned about is that this may lead to a return to commercial whaling"
Karli Thomas:

"What the Fisheries Agency of Japan is doing is not scientific, it's merely commercial whaling in disguise"
Sorry Karli, what? Are you saying the FAJ is already whaling commercially, or are you saying what they are doing may eventually be followed up by a return to commercial whaling? Why say one thing and then turn around the next minute and say something contradictory?

Besides, we already have commercial whaling - in Norway (for yonks) and Iceland (since last year). Is it really such a surprise that the world has not exploded yet? Even in Japan whaling occurs with respect to species that Japan believes are outside the IWC's jurisdiction.

As it happens, I agree with Karli (with her first story, that is). When Japan does resume commercial whaling with respect to species under the IWC's jurisdiction, it is indeed likely to result in significantly higher numbers of whales being killed than at the present time under scientific permit (as you would expect where a research programme is concerned).

I struggle to understand how Karli can recognise this much, but then still believe that the current research programmes, which are still small in scope compared to commercial whaling immediately prior to the moratorium, are "commercial whaling in disguise".

As an aside, Karli seems to already have accepted the fact that the ICR will kill "1000 whales" in the Antarctic this season. Given that they already concede that the ICR will take their quota, I again find myself wondering whether they will persist with their video-friendly tactic of trying to put inflatables between the harpoon gunner and the whales (with potentially negative implications for the welfare of the whales selected for sampling).

"[Research whaling] is now entirely dependent on Japanese government funding"

This is incorrect, the publicly owned ICR organization is heavily dependent on proceeds from the sale of the whale meat by-products.

"Back in Japan, hardly any one seems interested in the Southern Ocean whale meat. By the end of 2006, nearly 5,000 tonnes piled up in cold storage."

This is incorrect, the stockpile level fell to 4,403 tonnes at the end of November 2006, and the figures for the end of 2006 have not even been released yet.

I could say more, but I've addressed other aspects of their pathetic misinformation before.




Greenpeace Japan to launch a "whale love" site

Yep... that's right. "whale love".

The press release in Japanese is here. I'm not going to bother to translate much of this, but according to them (my translation):
"Regarding whales, it is Greenpeace's role to bridge the gap between the international community and within Japan, and to find a path in which humans and whales can truly co-exist together"

The actual web page (which has an English version) is at www.whalelove.org.

Apparently from the 25th of January (to coincide with the late expedition of the Esperanza to the Antarctic) they are going to broadcast some videos of a Spanish guy and a Japanese lady travelling around Japan presenting their thoughts about whales and so forth. It seems the videos will be available in both English and Japanese, so if you do happen to feel the desperate urge to sit through a Greenpeace propaganda show, be their guest!

* * *

The www.cowlove.org, www.sheeplove.org, and www.piglove.org domains appear to still be available.

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JARPA II 2006/2007 Update #11 - Campbell clutches at straws

Ian Campbell seems to be serious about his complaints about the use of water cannons by the ICR fleet to keep nuisance activists away from their vessels.

Perhaps Ian could tell us why the activists need to be within range of these water cannons in the first place? Or does he think that the ICR vessels are obliged to put up with attempts to graffiti on their ships and obstruct their research, which is conducted in accordance with international agreements that Campbell's government has and remains adhered to?

Even according to Paul Watson:
Nathan and his crewmates will maneuver their little rubber Greenpeace boats into the path of the fire hoses where they will be filmed being “attacked” with high power hoses. They will do that for hours and it looks very dramatic. But it’s all just ocean posing folks. Last year, my crew quite easily avoided the fire hoses. In fact, the only way they could have been hit would have been to steer directly into the path of the water.
Ian is making a fool of himself, as usual. Aren't politicians supposed to carry themselves with a little more dignity?

* * *

The article notes that Croatia has joined the IWC, adding another European nation to the list of member nations. Croatia neighbours fellow IWC members land-locked Hungary and Slovenia, who also recently joined the IWC. That makes one less European nation who hasn't yet joined the IWC. Croatia, like Slovenia, borders the Adriatic sea, although they have a significantly larger coastline.

* * *

UPDATE 2006/01/15
: More on the article regarding Campbell's criticisms...

The IWC Resolution (2006-2) referred to in the article is entitled "Resolution on the safety of vessels engaged in whaling and whale research-related activities".

The resolution title makes it clear that the resolution deals with the safety of the ICR research vessels from "protest" activities, which last year led to a couple of ship collisions with Japanese vessels (both Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd vessels were involved).

It's no surprise that with Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd vessels not yet in the vicinity of the ICR research fleet, we haven't yet heard of any collision incidents involving "vessels engaged in whaling and whale research-related activities" this season. Clearly, the Japanese government sponsored ICR vessels are in the Antarctic for the purpose of completing their programme (conducted in accordance with international agreements that both Australia and Japan have adhered to), not to cause incidents with other vessels, which generated so much media interest last year. Whether similar incidents reoccur over the coming weeks is ultimately dependant on the intentions of those conducting the protest activities.

With this in mind, it's worth noting another part of the resolution - "the Commission and Contracting Governments support the right to legitimate and peaceful forms of protest and demonstration"

If protest groups wish to attempt to physically obstruct the activities of the research vessels (i.e., with their inflatables), they can not expect that physical actions will not be taken against them in response, to limit their effectiveness. The ICR crew are not under any obligation to act as a "protest punching bag" for the self-righteous activists of those groups. It is the choice of these activists not to limit themselves to peaceful forms of protest that introduces the "risk to human life" referred to in the article, through provocation. Such acts which provoke response should therefore not find support with any government.

The Sea Shepherd organization is at least mature enough to stick up for themselves - Paul Watson says that his crew are "prepared to die for the whales" - but Greenpeace have no excuse. There is no need for them to deploy inflatables in close proximity to the research vessels (an essential pointless tactic in terms of "saving whales"), and certainly not to conduct stunts such as that quoted in the article - trying to "hook their inflatables to whales being hauled up the stern ramp".

That is not "peaceful" protest activity.

If Greenpeace activists are big enough to sail themselves all the way down to the Ross Sea and attempt to obstruct whaling efforts in such a confrontational manner, they should not run to Ian Campbell crying like babies for help when their self-righteous behaviour results in them being sprayed with water cannons.

Greenpeace's actions in the Antarctic during the month of February will indicate the level of maturity of the people running their organization. While one can hope for both the sake of their activists as well as the ICR crew that Greenpeace change their tactics this year, surely Ian Campbell ought to know better than to indulge in this nonsense. I've said it before, but I'll say it again - Campbell should stick to his policies rather than snuggle up to groups displaying such an arrogant and self-righteous attitude as this.

At the end of the day however, whether or not Senator Campbell wishes to bathe in embarrassment is for him to decide.

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JARPA II 2006/2007 Update #8 - Still a week to go

No confrontation in the Antarctic for at least about another week it seems:
... activists from the group Sea Shepherd said their two ship navy, which aims to disable the whaling vessels, would reach Antarctic waters and begin to hunt for the fleet in about a week.

There's more detail about the Farley Mowat's piracy paraphernalia as well:

Engineers have fitted a solid steel hydraulic ram with a bulldozer-strength blade to the Sea Shepherd's flagship, Farley Mowat, which has been stripped of its registration in Belize and could now be considered a pirate vessel under international law.

Sea Shepherd's president, Paul Watson, said the "can opener" was operational and far more serious than a version used last year to scrape the side of the Japanese resupply ship, Oriental Bluebird. He said its placement at deck level meant it could damage, but not endanger, the hull of another ship.

He said Sea Shepherd had never caused human injury in its direct actions, and he hoped to inflict just enough damage to a whaling vessel to force it to return to port.

In this day and age, one would hope that a ship with such an implement attached to it would be consider a pirate vessel, regardless of whether or not it was registered.

Apparently the new SS vessel has been named the "Robert Hunter", after one of Watson's late mates.

* * *

The Japan Whaling Association has another press release regarding Sea Shepherd's de-registration from Belize's registry.

* * *

As for Greenpeace? (Who?)
Greenpeace is also preparing its eighth campaign voyage south, later in the whaling season than ever before.
They've never been less serious about "saving whales" than today, it seems. This season's effort looks to be little more than "us too" tokenism at best, or merely donation attracting video footage generation at worst.

Australia's ABC Local Radio AM programme also has comment from GP's Sarah Holden and ICR spokesman Glenn Inwood, here.

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JARPA II 2006/2007 Update #7 - Who writes TVNZ's news?

TVNZ (Television New Zealand) is New Zealand's publicly owned television broadcaster. Of course, New Zealand is, generally speaking, a developed western nation with a democratically elected government, and so as one would expect TVNZ states that one of their "Strategic Goals" is to "Act with editorial independence" (TVNZ corporate brochure, page 2).

Thank goodness for that, right.

Perhaps you can imagine my surprise when I saw the following on TVNZ's national news homepage today:

New Greenpeace ship to dock in NZ

Jan 8, 2007

Greenpeace's newest ship, the Esperanza, will make a port of call in New Zealand for the first time on Tuesday before it heads south to campaign against the Japanese government's whaling programme in the Antarctic's Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

The 72.3m Esperanza is expected to arrive in Auckland late morning and will be greeted with a powhiri at Princes Wharf.

Greenpeace Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid says that the crew stopped many whales from being killed in the Antarctic last whaling season and that this year they will be carrying out activities designed by supporters that were posted on their website.

During her global expedition, the Esperanza has been the home, office and workshop for the crew in some of the most remote regions of the world and has confronted pirate fishers, promoted marine reserves and threats, and highlighted the overfishing of tuna.

The crew are from around 19 different countries, but up to 40 people can be on board including researchers, campaigners and scientists.

The Esperanza has been fitted with the latest in internet technology, with broadband on the ship 24 hours a day, in order to communicate with the world what she is up to, at any time of the day or night.

Greenpeace bought the ship in 2000 and she was re-named Esperanza (Spanish for "hope") through a competition for Greenpeace's hundreds of thousands of cyberactivists around the world.

Esperanza will be in New Zealand for two weeks before leaving to Antarctica.

Source: One News

Righto, so TVNZ's One News is the source, of this 244 word news item. Why then is the following posted on scoop.co.nz in their politics section?

Ship Arrives in Auckland Before Whaling Campaign
Monday, 8 January 2007, 11:38 am
Press Release: Greenpeace New Zealand

Greenpeace Ship Arrives in Auckland Before Whaling Campaign

Auckland, 8 January 2007-- Greenpeace ship The Esperanza will arrive in Auckland tomorrow morning, to prepare for the organisation's campaign against the Japanese Government's whaling programme in the Antarctic's Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

The 72.3m Esperanza is Greenpeace's newest ship and it will be the first time she has visited New Zealand. She and her crew will be greeted with a Powhiri at Princes Wharf around 11 a.m.

The Esperanza will be in New Zealand for two weeks, when she leaves for the Antarctic.

She will be open for public visits for the next two weekends – on 13/14 and 20/21 January from 10 am to 4 pm.

"We welcome the Esperanza to New Zealand. This voyage will be the last journey in her year-long global "Defending our Oceans" campaign to highlight threats to the oceans," said Greenpeace Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid.

"Last whaling season the Greenpeace crew stopped many whales from being killed in the Antarctic. This year they will be carrying out activities designed by supporters who have posted their ideas on http://www.greenpeace.org.nz/whales ," she said.

During her global expedition, the Esperanza has been the home, office and workshop for the crew in some of the most remote regions of the world. She has confronted pirate fishers off the coast of West Africa, promoted marine reserves and threats to the coastal marine systems in the Atlantic, the Red Sea and the coastlines of India, and highlighted the overfishing of tuna in both the
Mediterranean and the Pacific.

The crew are from around 19 different countries, but up to 40 people can be on board including researchers, campaigners and scientists.

The Esperanza has been fitted with the latest in internet technology, with broadband on the ship 24 hours a day, in order to communicate with the world what she is up to, at any time of the day or night.

Greenpeace bought the ship in 2000 and she was re-named Esperanza (Spanish for "hope") through a competition for Greenpeace's hundreds of thousands of cyberactivists around the world.

For fun, I've splashed with red most of the similarities between the TVNZ piece (apparently sourced from One News) and the PR article from Greenpeace New Zealand. The majority of the 244 words of the TVNZ piece can miraculously be found within the latter. How about that for "editorial independence"? Or does "editorial independence" simply entail cutting lengthy pre-canned media articles down to fit within 250 word limits?

We can but wonder about TVNZ, but as for why Greenpeace is spending two weeks in Auckland offering the public visits around the ship instead hurrying up and of heading down to the Antarctic straight away, no guesses are required - their lethargy indicates how effective they really think their "whale saving" was last year. Maybe the Pirate Watson will have a crack at them over this?

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JARPA II 2006/2007 Update #4

Japanese representative Hideki Moronuki has hit the nail on the head with the following statement being reported in the aussie media, with regards to SSCS's openly conceded tactics of vessel ramming:
"The activity is very, very dangerous and whenever you look at the website of Sea Shepherd, they say they haven't killed or injured anybody, but their activities may kill or injure people".
That's completely right.

If Watson thinks his tactics won't harm human life, why does he think the whalers should be worried about his tactics?

Last year he liked to claim that the whalers were "running away" whenever his ship appeared. Wishful thinking? A more accurate assessment would seem to be that the SS flagship was simply to slow to keep up, which is why SSCS have purchased a new vessel for this year.

Another article gives another angle on Watson's tactics:

THE hardline anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd plans to disrupt Japan's summer whaling program in Antarctica by inflicting just enough damage on the whaling vessel to force it to comply with strict Japanese safety regulations and return to port for repairs.

Sea Shepherd's president, Paul Watson, told the Herald yesterday that he had no intention of endangering life. Sea Shepherd activists have sunk 10 whaling vessels in the North Atlantic since 1979. Last summer it tried to foul the propellers of the whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru, the vessel it will soon be chasing.

Of course, SS already tried such things last season, without success (thankfully). What's more, such actions clearly seem to run afoul of relevant international agreements (as the ICR pointed out last year). For example, Article 101 of UNCLOS reads:

Piracy consists of any of the following acts:

(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:

(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;

(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;

(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;

(c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).

Of course I'm sure Watson has some big fancy porkie to excuse himself from this, but I wonder how much longer the officials will be patient.

Watson has also been having other problems:
... the Farley Mowat's departure was delayed over its registration.

Attempts to shift the registration from Canada to Britain had to be abandoned when British authorities refused to allow the ship onto their books.

Captain Watson alleged that the British were told by Greenpeace that his organisation was an eco-terrorist group. He eventually obtained a registration from Belize.

Belize? Depending on how far SS go with their obstruction this year, the Belize IWC representative might be in for an uncomfortable IWC meeting next year. It seems likely that further resolution be passed related to the safety of whale research vessels.

Anyway... As for Greenpeace:
Greenpeace confirmed it was sending one vessel south: the Esperanza, a fast ship that stayed with the fleet for 29 days in 2005-6. Its campaigners, equipped with fast inflatables, cameras and satellite access, opened an unprecedented window into the whalers' activities.

Esperanza left Mexico on December 11 for Auckland, and is unlikely to reach the whaling fleet until late January. Last year whaling ended on March 20.

So only one ship from GP this season (no Arctic Sunrise), and they won't show up until such a point in time that the research fleet will already be a long way towards it's quota. But then, as Watson has charged, Greenpeace appear to be more interested in this for the fundraising opportunity presented than any genuine concern for the environment.

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Oh, the tedium...

What a boring austral summer this is turning out to be.

Tonight we've got more news from the "whale-safe beer" kufuffle.
"Australians are wise enough to make their own decisions as to whether this is a multi-millionaire trying to stoke racism in the Australian community to try to make a buck."
-- Lion Nathon spokesman

Elsewhere, Greenpeace is still trying to deceive the western public about the whale meat consumption trends here in Japan. According to Greenpeace:
it's clear that they don't have a high demand since more and more whale meat is getting stockpiled.
As readers of this blog know, consumption has actually increased by more than 50% since 2004. Greenpeace is however a "campaigning" organization, not an educational organization. They must campaign to continue to raise funds, and they must raise funds to continue to campaign. More silliness:
There doesn't appear to be any logical explanation why the Japanese government supports whaling on the high seas and since the majority of the Japanese public are also against it - isn't it about time they stopped?
Greenpeace draws their own illogical conclusions, which is why they can't understand the Japanese government's position. Meanwhile, readers of this blog also know that it's an outright lie that the majority of the Japanese public "are against" whaling.

Finally, Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace are busy whinging at each other (see here and here). Greenpeace is still not even anywhere near the Antarctic, and doesn't plan to be there until sometime into the New Year. The most likely reason to my mind is that last year they wasted lots of valuable media time in the Antarctic over the Christmas / New Year's period. It's hard to get media attention at this time as everyone is on holiday (that's why we saw them ram the Nisshin Maru on January 8th last year).

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The McDonalds-ification of Conservationism

Greenpeace has launched a very slick looking new web-based campaign to 'save the whales'.

They hope to trigger 'a positive and productive public debate both in Japan and all over the world.'

This in itself is commendable, but what sort of debate are they looking to trigger?
The lack of clarity gives the impression that rather than a debate about a principle that needs fighting for, the intention is likely almost any old thing so long as the conclusion is 'save the whales' - that essential element of Greenpeace's global brand.

In their introduction Greenpeace repeat their latest deception - 'most people [in Japan] are against whaling in Antarctica', but are helpful enough to expose their own untruth later by stating the 'fact' that '69% of the Japanese population does not support whaling in Antarctica' (my emphasis) - a creative twist for a start, on a survey that they commissioned, that was also not representative of the population as a whole, and in fact even then showed that just 26% were opposed to a resumption in commercial whaling in general (all of which I covered here recently).

Two further 'facts' which Greenpeace see fit to inform people of was that '61% haven't eaten whale meat since childhood, and ONLY 1% eat whale meat more than once a month'. Such information by itself can give a very false impression as readers may then fail to consider that limited consumption might in fact be related to a global moratorium on commercial whaling, of course not to mention a true fact that private consumption has been rising quite significantly recently, as analysis of official figures indicate.

Yet another piece of information that Greenpeace see's fit for it's readers is that 'Japan has more than 4.800 tones of FROZEN whale meat in storage'. The average stockpile figure over the past 12 months was actually more like 4,400 tonnes, and the trough size was less than 2,900 tonnes (based on current consumption this trough size looks to go even lower in 2007). But more significantly, the fact is that there is usually more than 1,000,000 tonnes of frozen marine products stockpiled in Japan at any point in time. The whale meat stockpile is almost insignificant when viewed in this relative context. From the production point of view, the contrast is even more stark - the FAO homepage notes that Japan's "coastal fisheries have maintained a stable supply of marine products, yielding 1 577 000 t in 2003." That's without considering Japan's other fisheries - on the other hand Whale meat supply currently appears to be less than 10,000 tonnes annually.

So, Greenpeace apparently hopes that netizens, with this misinformation in mind, will help them to devise some direct actions that will see "the whole world to stand up for the whales and against the Japanese government's policy of killing them."

The chances of whalers listening to people who have been brainwashed with such propaganda is ziltch, by my reckoning. If Greenpeace really wishes to see a "positive and productive" debate take place, they'll start by at least informing their gathering of "environmental activists" of the basics, and then decide on some clear terms of reference to actually entice the whalers into such a discussion.

Don't hold your breath.

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Greenpeace Japan's survey on opinion in Japan

Greenpeace's Japan arm has made some claims about opinion in Japan on whaling in their press release on the commencement of the JARPA II voyage.

They refer to a survey commissioned by them, which "showed that ... more than 70 % of Japanese do NOT support whaling in the Southern Ocean".

That's a creative way to express the results of the survey, because what was actually found in response to the main question of "do you support or oppose the resumption of commercial whaling" (page 4) was that
Having pointed that out, it's worth noting that the survey itself notes that the sampling methodology used involved selecting respondents from people registered in an Internet based "Cyber Panel", and that the results "are not necessarily representative of the whole population of Japan" (my translation, from page 2).

The strongest opposition to whaling was observed amongst university students, and the survey concludes in it's summary that (my translation, from page 7):
Amongst younger respondents, while there was a tendency to be opposed to a resumption in commercial whaling, respondents were not knowledgeable about whale environments or Japan's whaling, let alone aware of international decisions made by the IWC.

It could be said that opinions amongst younger respondents against a resumption in commercial whaling are by no means based on sufficient knowledge of whaling.
Greenpeace didn't quote that bit in their press release, either.

The survey naturally contained some leading questions, including references to the increasing stockpile levels, but making no mention of the increases in consumption and supply which are at play there.

I can but trust that going forward Greenpeace Japan will endeavour to provide the Japanese public with more complete information about whaling.

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JARPA II fleet departs, protest behaviour under scrutiny

The Boston Globe online has a nice picture of the JARPA II fleet departure today:

The issue seems to have been covered most heavily in Australia, with an ICR spokesman getting a good amount of press, particularly on the issue of planned obstruction activities:

The institute, which controls the whaling fleet of a mother ship and several catchers, says the protesters are planning illegal activities.

"These groups are breaking the law by interfering with our research and putting the lives of our crew and scientists at risk," the spokesman said.

"Japan's research is perfectly legal conducted under the Whaling Convention.

"The IWC passed a resolution at this year's annual meeting in St Kitts and Nevis condemning Greenpeace's interference with our program and the commission may take action against them if we see a repeat of last year's harassment."

Australia has been at the forefront of efforts to close off loopholes in IWC rules that allow Japan to take whales for scientific research.

"Australia and New Zealand need to get their heads around the fact there is mounting scientific evidence that most whale stocks around the globe can support a limited commercial hunt for food," the ICR spokesman said.

"The world community has woken up to that fact and we are witnessing the last remaining years of an unjust moratorium."

Elsewhere, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that apparently
"the Japanese Government has warned that any protesters who board the fleet will be arrested."
The issue of protester conduct was addressed at IWC 58, resulting in Resolution 2006-2 "Resolution on the safety of vessels engaged in whaling and whale research-related activities", being adopted by consensus.

The resolution notes that the IWC "and Contracting Governments support the right to legitimate and peaceful forms of protest and demonstration", but concludes by agreeing and declaring that "the Commission and its Contracting Governments do not condone any actions that are a risk to human life and property in relation to these activities of vessels at sea, and urges persons and entities to refrain from such acts"

In the past, Sea Shepherd has been "ardently condemned" by the IWC and all its members, for it's "acts of terrorism", and they seem intent on more such reprehensible behaviour (regarded as counterproductive to their cause) this year.

On the other hand, whether the Greenpeace organization wishes to redeem itself after events back in January this year remain to be seen.

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IWC 2006: Greenpeace breaks own Accountability Charter...

The fallout from Greenpeace's law breaking in St. Kitts and Nevis continues, with Nick Nichols pointing out that it took just 22 days for Greenpeace International to violate the NGO Accountability Charter that it was involved in developing.

This is the problem you face when you need to indulge in publicity stunts to attract the donations that you survive on. Greenpeace has made it all too clear where it's priorities are.

The full article from Nick Nichols below:

Greenpeace International has violated a code-of-conduct that it, and 10 other non-governmental organisations (NGOs), signed just 22 days ago. I am shocked and awed.

The much-touted Accountability Charter states that the NGO signatories will take all possible steps to ensure that there are no links with organisations, or individuals involved in illegal or unethical practices.

Nice words. But for the 39,129 citizens of the sovereign Caribbean island Federation of St. Kitts/Nevis, these words must be ringing a bit hollow.

According to government press statements and news reports, on 20 June a Greenpeace vessel, the MV Arctic Sunrise, violated the Federation’s territorial waters, illegally offloaded passengers and defied law enforcement officials by refusing to accompany them to police headquarters.

Ten members of the invasion force were arrested; six of them spent the night in jail, awaiting cash from Greenpeace to pay their fines.

The captain and crew of the mother ship apparently abandoned their comrades and sailed off in the direction of St. Eustatius.

The apparent objective of the Greenpeace expeditionary force was to disrupt a meeting of the International Whaling Commission being hosted by St. Kitts.

Their defence lawyer told the local magistrate that the activists had not intended to cause trouble on the island but only to engage in non-violent protest. Federation officials had a different opinion; they issued a national security release charging that Greenpeace had shown total disregard and disrespect for the government in utter contempt of its sovereign status.

The Federation release also noted that the Greenpeace vessel’s illegal manoeuvres had threatened the marine environment, jeopardising the barrier reef which protects the eastern Atlantic coastline of St. Kitts/Nevis and other fragile near-shore marine eco-systems.

Greenpeace International and the other Accountability Charter signatories claim the reason they signed the charter was to promote further values of transparency and accountability that we stand for, and commit our NGOs to respecting its provisions.

The charter states that its signers seek to advance international and national laws that promote human rights, ecosystem protection, sustainable development and other public goods.

Unless someone can make a compelling argument that violating national sovereignty, obstructing law enforcement authorities and jeopardising a fragile eco-system are not outright violations of the commitments made by those who signed the Accountability Charter, it seems to me that Greenpeace International has two options in the wake of the St. Kitts affair: either condemn the actions of the captain and crew of the MV Arctic Sunrise; or publicly jump ship from the Accountability Charter.

When Greenpeace wired money to pay the fines that were levied against the St. Kitts invaders, it may have clarified its true intentions. Only time will tell.

What is clear is that Greenpeace picks some really nice places to invade. Perhaps it’s their way of recruiting new rainbow warriors.

Join our merry band of sea scoundrels. Explore the beaches of picturesque islands. Drink your fill of mai tais. Have a whale of a good time.

While the attempted invasion of St. Kitts may not make the history books, this long-time observer of activist group shenanigans is shocked that it took Greenpeace nearly a month to depart from its charter commitments.

I expected a more rapid departure. And I’m awed by the actions taken by the government of St. Kitts/Nevis. Unlike other sovereign nations and many international corporations which have turned tail at the sight of the rainbow warriors, the Federation of St. Kitts/Nevis rejected appeasement and defended its sovereignty when the Greenpeace armada appeared on the horizon.

I would bet that the rainbow warriors won’t be returning to this Caribbean paradise anytime soon.




IWC 2006: RIP Greenpeace? (2)

A few days back Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise was banned from St. Kitts. Greenpeace claimed to have not received any reason for this. I noted that the reason for the banning was clearly to do with the collision between the ship and the Nisshin Maru, earlier in the year.

St. Kitts's Minister of National Security, Dwyer Astaphan refuted Greenpeace's claim that they had not been informed why the ship was refused entry.
“A letter was sent either directly to them or to the agent indicating that the request is refused. A second letter was to have been sent indicating to them that it was on national security considerations,” Astaphan told the SUN.

Astaphan further explained the government’s reason for barring the ship from entering.

“The Cabinet took a decision based on national security considerations. There are a number of events taking place in the country at the time and we have to look at the national security resources and we have to look at the whole picture and be guided by that and take decisions in the interest of national security,” he said.

When asked if Greenpeace is considered a threat to national security, Astaphan replied, “Anything could be a threat to national security. We just have to look at everything and make certain determinations. We’re not blocking anybody per se from coming into the country.

“If somebody is considered to be a potential threat to national security or to peace and order in that country, then that person, whether a private individual or somebody associated with an association, would not be allowed entry just like in any other country, but the decision was taken in regard to that particular vessel at this time.”
As suspected, the reason for the banning is clearly in relation to the ramming incident in the Antarctic back in January.

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IWC 2006: RIP Greenpeace?

In what may be a forerunner to events this week on Friday at the IWC plenary session, St. Kitts has refused the Greenpeace terrorist / protest vessel, the Arctic Sunrise, entry to port.
Greenpeace says it has been given no official reason for the ban.

"We are shocked that St Kitts has banned the Arctic Sunrise and can only assume that the government of Japan has convinced authorities to prevent us from entering to silence our criticism of whaling."
Dear oh dear. Spare us the feigned surprise.

Readers might recall that the Arctic Sunrise was the Greenpeace vessel involved in the ramming of the Nisshin Maru in January this year. The bow of the vessel is pictured above.

The Institute of Cetacean Research organized a written protest in relation to that particular incident in May. They have pictures and videos of the incident here.

Evidently the ship has been refused entry to St. Kitts in relation to this incident.

Greenpeace themselves are also predicting that they will be stripped of their IWC observer status when the plenary meeting begins this Friday. I expect this, and more.

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IWC 2006: JARPA II returns to port

The Institute of Cetacean Research reports that the JARPA II research fleet has returned to Japan.

From the ICR website (roughly translating):

Approximately 5000 Minke whales, 3450 Humpback whales, 930 Fin whales, 82 Southern Right whales, 48 Blue whales and 3 Sei whales were sighted as part of the non-lethal portion of the research.

853 Minke whales were taken as samples in the lethal portion. The sample size had been set at 850+/- 10%, or 765 - 935, so the number taken was as planned.
10 Fin whales were also taken, as planned.

Biopsy samples were taken from 5 Blue whales, 9 Fin whales, 1 Sei whale, 13 Humpback whales, and 15 Minke whales.

Brief summary of some results todate:

Now, readers may recall that earlier this year Greenpeace's obstruction tactics were questioned, on the grounds that those actions led to increased time-to-deaths for the whales.

Greenpeace's Shane Rattenbury explained the through their obstruction tactics, they hoped that they could ensure that it took a longer amount of time for each whale to be taken, thus preventing the JARPA II research vessels from taking their target sample size of 850 whales, thus "Saving Whales".

Well, it didn't work, did it. But it did have the side effect of leading to a longer, more painful death for those whales struck at the time of Greenpeace's obstruction.

The money question is now whether Greenpeace will in future continue to persist with their tactic of obstruction, despite the lesson that it achieves nothing other than additional pain for the whales.

I suspect that they will continue with the tactic, because they care more about their fancy video footage than they do about their purported cause.

I can but wait for Greenpeace to prove me wrong.


I have just posted the following to the Greenpeace website:


I saw today that the JARPA II research fleet has returned to port in Japan, having taking their planned 850 minke whales (853 in the end), and 10 fin whales.

I wanted to ask what Greenpeace's plans are with respect to putting the inflatables in between the whales and the harpoons.

From Shane Rattenbury's comments in the media, it appears that the idea behind this was to obstruct the whaling operation as much as possible, so that they would not be able to kill quite as many whales. It seems that ultimately, these obstruction tactics haven't worked.

My question is whether Greenpeace will continue to persist with this tactic in future?

What I read seems to indicate that the harpooners are unable to take a clean shot when Greenpeace protestors are obstructing them, which contributed to an increase in the time-to-deaths for whales. Shane Rattenbury mentioned himself in the media that whales often die instantaneously. He was quoted in the media when the incident with the Greenpeace protestor getting tipped into the water by the harpoon line. He said that, had the whale been still alive, the situation could have become even more dangerous for the protestors. So, lucky for the protestors that the whale died instantaneously, but also lucky for the whale that it suffered an instantaneous death.

Given that Greenpeace's obstruction tactics may lead the harpooners to take less than optimal shots, potentially leading to increased time-to-deaths for the whales, I would urge Greenpeace protestors to not obstruct the harpooners in this manner in future. I for one would certainly be very angry with Greenpeace if this request were not heeded. The Japanese whalers have proved this year that they will take their whales, regardless of Greenpeace's obstruction tactics.

I am wondering whether the IWC's humane killing working group may criticise Greenpeace's actions, and perhaps the IWC might even issue a resolution against such behaviour in future. Even if they don't, please think about the whales that are going to die, when you execute your protest plans for future years. Greenpeace protestors have a responsibility to ensure that their actions do not increase suffering, as appears to have been the case this year.

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IWC 2006: Greenpeace actions leading to increased time-to-deaths

The IWC has a working group on whale killing methods. Dr Ray Gambell OBE has explained that the goal of the working group is to study methods of improving the humaneness of whaling operations, with the agreed technique to be ensuring that whales are killed as swiftly as possible, instantaneously being the ideal result.

With explosive tipped harpoons, time-to-death statistics show that in both the Norwegian commercial hunt and the Japanese research hunt, the majority of whale struck die instantaneously.

However the Institute of Cetacean Research has noted that it is observing increased time-to-deaths this year as a result of protester interference, preventing the harpooners from taking as clear, clean shots as they would usually be able.

Greenpeace too admits that it is their goal to ensure that each whale death takes as long as possible:

Mr Rattenbury said Greenpeace was achieving results.

"It's certainly our intention to protect as many whales as possible, and we are working on the theory that so long as it takes them even longer to kill a whale, they are not killing another one," he said.

"It has been our focus and our strategy to slow them down as much as we can"

It's quite remarkable that Greenpeace, themselves directly contributing to increased time-to-deaths for the whales being hunted, sees fit to broadcast the bloody footage around the globe, criticising how slow the process was.

On this basis it is clear that Greenpeace doesn't care about animal welfare in terms of humane killing.

When the current session of the research programme concludes, if Japan has still taken it's targeted population sample of 850 +/- 10% minke whales, the international community would be quite right to question the humaneness of Greenpeace's protesting techniques.

Indeed, even if they do succeed in obstructing the research programme to a degree, their supporters must surely be asking themselves:
"What is more important? Preventing the death of some number of whales, or ensuring that those that are killed are killed as humanely as possible?"
I personally suspect that Greenpeace is going to suffer quite a backlash from Animal Rights advocates for their efforts, as their only success currently appears to be a gory propaganda campaign.

UPDATE [06/01/15]
Further information to hand

Here's Mr Rattenbury again, after a protestor was knocked off a Greenpeace inflatable after getting caught in the rope attached to a harpoon:
"It [the harpoon] struck the whale and fortunately it died immediately."
But then he goes on to reveal why he believes it was fortunate:
"We have seen some kills that go on for a long time, with the whale thrashing about, in which case the whole boat would have capsized."
Just when you thought they might spare a thought for the whales, it turns out they're just worried about their own self-preservation.

UPDATE [06/01/16]
Even more information to hand
"Shane Rattenbury from Greenpeace says the activists follow the practice of moving aside once a whale had been hit to allow the harpoonist to finish the kill."
Yet again Rattenbury displays his irresponsible attitude. The goal is for the whale to die instantaneously, not anything less. The harpoonist's job should ideally be done as soon as the harpoon has been released, not after Greenpeace protestors have been good enough to get out of the way. The harpoonists aren't there to oblige Greenpeace protestors with nice camera shots of them between the harpoons and the whales, they are there to kill the whales cleanly and swiftly.

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