Is the Anti-Whaling Activist Who Boarded a Japanese Whaling Ship a Pirate?

By Aline Reynolds | February 18, 2010 1:05 pm

whaleIs Paul Bethune a pirate? Bethune is an anti-whaling activist who boarded a Japanese whaling vessel on Monday, demanding to make a citizen’s arrest of the skipper; he reportedly planned to charge the skipper with attempted murder due to the collision between the whaling boat and the activists’ powerboat, the Ady Gil, last month. Not just that, he also slapped a bill on the captain, seeking $3 million dollars for the damage caused to the Ady Gil.

Bethune is now being held in the whalers’ custody, and may be tried in a Japanese court for charges of trespassing and assault. But one expert suggests that he also faces the possibility of being viewed as a pirate–for not just boarding a vessel illegally, but also making demands for money.

This incident is the latest in an escalating series of skirmishes on the high seas between anti-whaling activists of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, of which Bethune is a member, and the Japanese whaling industry. The whaling wars have also intensified a diplomatic tussle between Japan and Australian and New Zealand, with the Kiwis demanding a halt to the hunting and the Australian government saying it hasn’t ruled out the prospect of taking legal action against the whalers after gathering evidence that it’s presenting to the International Whaling Commission [BusinessWeek].

The International Whaling Commission placed a global moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986 but whales can still be killed for research purposes–a technical loophole that allows Japanese whalers to kill an estimated 1000 whales each year. The boats hunt hundreds of mostly minke whales, which are not an endangered species. Whale meat not used for study is sold for consumption in Japan, which critics say is the real reason for the hunts [Associated Press]. DISCOVER has documented complaints by American scientists that killing whales isn’t necessary for the research Japanese scientists are conducting. The International Whaling Commission continues to try to figure out how to amend its rules to contain Japan’s whaling efforts, thus far without success.

Japan now has six whaling ships in Antarctic waters for “scientific purposes.” The Sea Shepherd sends vessels to confront the fleet each year, trying to block the whalers from firing harpoons and dangling ropes in the water to try to snarl the Japanese ships’ propellers. The whalers have responded by firing water cannons and sonar devices meant to disorient the activists [Associated Press].

In recent days, activists have tried to one-up the whalers by throwing butyric bombs on board the vessels. These harmless bombs emit a foul odor similar to that of butter gone bad or vomit, making it hard for crew members to stay focused on work. For his part, if Bethune is charged with crimes by Japanese prosecutors he will stand trial in a Japanese criminal justice system that apparently has a 99.8 per cent conviction rate [The Australian].

Related Content:
80beats: Videos Show Collision Between Japanese Whaling Ship & Protesters
80beats: Is the Whaling Ban Really the Best Way to Save the Whales?
80beats: Controversial Deal Could Allow Japan To Hunt More Whales
80beats: Commando Filmmakers Expose Secret Dolphin Slaughter in Japan
Discoblog: Japan Whaling Redux: American Scientists Say Slaughter Was Unnecessary
Discoblog: Say What? Japanese Whaling Ships Accuse Animal Planet of Eco-Terrorism

Image: Flickr/ Rene Ehrhardt

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World
  • Katharine

    I would suggest amending the rules on whaling to not permit slaughter for scientific purposes without a very long, grueling application process.

  • Katharine

    Also, require the PI to be onboard the ship that does the killing at the time of death; they and the ship captain shall act as representatives.

    If the Japanese won’t obey the spirit of the law, change the law to make it harder to get around it.

  • Jim

    The Japanese are trespassing and poaching within a known whale sanctuary.
    What type of research results in the SALE of WHALEMEAT to consumers-this is profiteering by the Japanese and they are the actual pirates?
    Why rational and presumably intelligent human beings tolerate this from Japan is beyond comprehension.

  • AnimuX

    If Japan prosecutes Pete Bethune, he will become the political prisoner of a tyrannical government that has even violated the basic human rights of its own citizens (remember the Tokyo Two?) in order to support the whaling industry. Not to mention the fact that the captain of the ship that Pete boarded, Shonan Maru 2, is the same man who rammed and destroyed his vessel, Ady Gil, nearly killing Bethune and 5 members of his crew. If anything, the captain and crew of the Shonan Maru 2 should be apprehended and charged by New Zealand authorities for attempted murder.

    As for the flawed concept that Japan is doing “legal” research in the Southern Ocean:

    The first time Japan used Article VIII to justify whaling was in 1976. The IWC had just set the catch quota for Bryde’s whales to zero for purposes of conservation. Japan responded by issuing itself a science permit and proceeded to kill over 200 Bryde’s whales that season. Afterwards the IWC passed resolutions requiring any future use of Article VIII to be first evaluated by the IWC scientific committee.

    In the mid 70s and 80s Japan and other embattled whaling nations (including the Soviet Union) fought the establishment of a global moratorium (despite the fact that the UN had passed a resolution in 1972 declaring a 10 year moratorium should be enacted). After a series of votes a moratorium was passed in 1982 and went into effect in the 85/86 season but Japan objected to it officially and continued to take whales under objection. This is normal under the rules of the ICRW (International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling).

    The United States threatened Japan with economic sanctions including loss of access to Alaskan fisheries worth over $400 million USD. In negotiations, Japan agreed that it would stop commercial whaling by 1988 for access to these fisheries. However, Japan was busy preparing and presenting plans for “scientific research” to the IWC scientific committee.

    The committee rejected the research proposals (submitted before 1988). And despite this, in the 87/88 season Japan started its research whaling program JARPA. Due to pressure from US fishermen and environmental groups Japan lost access to US Alaskan resources anyway in 1988. US President Ronald Reagan declared Japan was in violation of IWC regulations and officially sanctioned Japan under the Packwood-Magnuson Amendment in 1988 as well.

    Since then, the IWC has almost annually issued resolutions, passed by majority, against Japan’s lethal research methods. Unfortunately, due to the lack of political will to take on Japan over whales and the lack of any punitive mechanism in the ICRW there has been nothing more than talk out of world governments.

    Historically, Japan has violated whaling regulations such as size limits, species limits, gender limits, seasonal limits, sanctuary boundaries, and even supported “pirate whaling” (killing whales in secret around the world through front companies with foreign labor to smuggle meat back to Japan without reporting to the IWC).

    Does any of this look like important legal science? Does it really look like Japan is honoring international conventions in good faith? The Australian Federal Court didn’t think so and it recently ruled that Japanese whaling in the Australian Antarctic Territory EEZ is illegal. Pete Bethune should be free and exonerated of any charges. The Japanese whaling industry should be shut down and the Shonan Maru 2 captain, the real pirate, should be arrested and put on trial.

  • scribbler

    This isn’t all that complicated. IF their goal is to sell the meat, make that illegal…

    With the sales banned, true intentions would surface, would they not?

  • Katharine

    Unfortunately, whale hunting is one of those issues that can be chalked up to ‘cultural problem’.

    Cultural problems are the hardest to rip a new arsehole into.

  • Alamah

    Whales can be tasty if cooked right, just as a natural resource can be sustained if managed right. The problem with the Japanese whaling activities is that the Japanese are being dishonest in their alleged purpose, “research”. The meat is being sold and is not all that difficult to get in Japan, either at markets or at restaurants. The Japanese should withdraw from the IWC, announce a limited cull for the limited demand for whalemeat back home, then proceed accordingly and continue to harvest the minke whale, as according to many sources, is not an endangered species. Of course, as the Sea Shepherds or any other private entity have zero authority to enforce any regulations prohibiting whaling, any pirate that boards whaling ships should be tried, prosecuted, and imprisoned.

  • Devon

    I’m not sure if Paul Bethune is a pirate or not. This being said, he should be held accountable for his actions. What he did was illegal.

  • Adrian

    Whaleing is Illegal. End of story. The capting of the No2 harpoon ship should stand trial on attempted murder with the gps data from his ship that will prove he tried to mow them down….

  • DocDiggs

    Regardless of anything that the Japanese may be doing, it is illegal, I believe under established marine law, to board a vessel of another nation and demand money or other material of value (as is done off the coast of Africa by Somali pirates). Bethune has been ramping up his dangerous and threatening behavior and it was inevitable that he would eventually do something this stupid and irresponsible. Again, regardless of anything else, Bethune, et al., are the agressors in this ongoing song and dance. He should be tried in Japanese court (or perhaps some international court) and if found guilty serve whatever sentence is passed on him.

    Actually, it would not surprise me at all if his actions were a deliberate attempt to set himself as some sort of “martyr for the cause”. I’m sure the uproar of foolish people, erstwhile supporters and others, against the Japanese will eventually reach the screech level as brains are shut down in favor of rationalizing illegal behavior.

  • Pirates’Booty

    Pirates don’t board on ships with letters. They board on ships with guns and ask for money at gun point.

    It is the Shonan Maru #2 who should be charged with the sinking of the Ady Gil and with attempted murder. Shonan Maru #2’s skipper almost killed six human beings then run away, and under New Zealand law, a New Zealand citizen has the right to conduct a citizens arrest.

  • agent orange

    Japanese whalers are operating illegally by targeting endangered and protected whales in an established international whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling, in violation of the Antarctic Treaty and in contempt of an Australian Federal Court order.

  • Radzone

    Theres an over supply of frozen whale meat going back years. So now they are feeding the meat to their dogs. yeah – dog food. Kill whales for dog food!

    I’m sure thats in the history books. Whaling is a cherished Japanese tradition, it’s in our heritage! YEAH right scum bags. It’s in our culture to hunt whales for dog food. A cherished tradition.

    They are brutal killers and their economy is heading for the next lost decade once the world starts boycotting their products… Feels like one huge chip on their shoulders ever since 1945.

  • ddpalmer

    Japan kills over 1,000 whales and 24,000 dolphins every year. They are driving the overfishing of bluefin tuna. It’s just a resource to them and when its gone they’ll move on to the next one.

  • Ryan

    The IWC wasn’t formed to ban whaling. Subsequently it did, but the rational was that whaling practices were unsustainable. There isn’t anything dishonest about what the Japanese whalers are doing. The explicitly stated purpose of their research is to determine whale populations so that they can resume commercial whaling.

    Iceland and Norway have BOTH resumed COMMERCIAL whaling after determining that their whale populations could sustain hunting. These two whaling nations are consciously ignoring IWC rules. The decreasing relevance and authority of the IWC is because it has become a forum where wealthy landlocked nations try to ban all whaling to score political points domestically (though I have no doubt their constituents are genuine in their concern for whales). The whole situation is troubling, because future circumstances may need a potent IWC.

    Honestly, I can’t understand either the fixation on either Japanese whaling, or why people get so bent out of shape over several thousand whales. How many cattle or people do people kill each year? I’d bet the scale of that activity dwarfs commercial whaling.

  • ddpalmer

    I really appreciate that someone feels I am such an authority that using my name would add credibility to their statements. Too bad they have their facts wrong.

    The Australians are the world’s largest fishers of bluefin tuna. Japan has cut their tuna quota much more than Australia has. And Japan is spending billions on trying to establish tuna farming which would allow the wild stocks to recover.

    The Japanese whaling research is to establish a sustainable level at which they can be harvested. Just like is done with many hundreds of other wild animals.

    As to legality, the IWC charter allows the whaling the Japanese are doing and the IWC is free to change or add to the requirements. They haven’t made any changes yet.

    The Antarctic treaty says nothing about whaling.

    The Australian sanctuary is not recognized by the world; only 3 countries recognize its existence. The IWC sanctuary was established in violation of their own requirements so it really doesn’t exist but even if it did the Japanese filed an objection (as allowed by the IWC charter) so it doesn’t apply to them in any case. And the Australian judge who issued the order said in that order that it only applies to Australian waters and he said since the Japanese aren’t in Australia waters the order has no effect.

  • Dr. Shanti

    For those in Australia, you seem to forget some basic facts. First of all, the Southern Ocean is not Australian territory – it is categorized as International Waters. No other country on the planet recognizes the claims that say they are Australian territory. Secondly, you have a Canadian outcast, who runs a Dutch-registered ship, telling the world he represents the Australians and “their” whales. Thirdly, you have Terry Irwin, who lent the Sea Shepherds the name of Steve Irwin simply to keep in the public eye, because lets face it, with Steve dead, not one damn person gives a crap about Bindi the Jungle Girl, not in the US anyways. Steve Irwin would NEVER have agreed with the violent tactics and clear-cut racism that the Sea Shepherds have demonstrated time and time again. He would have done what GreenPeace does, and that is to try and change policy and negotiate. We would never have seen Steve Irwin on the deck of any ship throwing glass bottles at other ships and trying to ram them. He was a man of peace, not a violent hippie who is simply looking to raise funds. I am not for whaling, and would like to see it abolished, but this is not what Steve Irwin would do. GreenPeace has the right idea – they are trying to win over the hearts of the many, many Japanese people who oppose whaling, instead of reverting to racism and bringing up things that happened during WWII. Lots of horrible things happened during the war, and NO ONE’S hands were clean. Do I need to bring up the atrocities that Australia inflicted in East Timor? Did it ever occur to any of you that there are many in Japan who oppose whaling? Indicting an entire nation for what one particular business is doing is ludicrous and irresponsible.

    Lastly, I hear talk about boycotting Japanese products. Well to that I say GO RIGHT AHEAD! Let’s look at this for a minute, without Japanese products, you can say goodbye to most of your electronic goods. Let’s see how long you can last without them. I absolutely guarantee that it won’t be long. Take a look in your own houses and count how much stuff you have, I bet it’s a lot! So go ahead, boycott their products. All that is really going to do is put Australian merchants out of business. I’m sure that the store owner, whose products you aren’t buying anymore, will give you the high-five for sticking it to Japan and taking your business elsewhere, while his family starves and goes on welfare. Oh well, I guess they can live with the Aborigines and eat the slaughtered kangaroos when they lose their jobs and homes. Believe me, no one in the rest of the world cares what you do.

    If anyone feels bad for the Ady Gil, don’t. In case any of you have conveniently forgotten, that boat is responsible for the death of a Guatemalan fisherman during its attempt to set a record for going around the world. But who cares about human lives, right? Certainly not Peter Bethune. He just wanted to get back in his bio-diesel boat and race on. It was only one lowly fisherman, and there are whales to save! I applaud with the Guatemalans who have celebrated and are happy to see this thing at the bottom, polluting the Southern Ocean with whatever toxic material it had on board. Where is all the Australian sympathy for a human being who was killed so that Peter Bethune could set a speed record? Oh, since it wasn’t a whale, that’s OK I guess. I can see that most of the individuals who saw the videos don’t have degrees in physics, so I’ll try and explain. Yes, the Maru vessel veered towards the Ady Gil, but it would NOT have collided if the Ady Gil didn’t suddenly thrust forward, which is clearly evident in the video. The wake from the screws is incontrovertible. The reason they were thrusting forward was to drag a prop fouling line in front of the whaling vessel and they miscalculated the speed of the oncoming ship. Stupid!

    Ok, let’s talk about the horrible slaughter, of kangaroos, not whales, in Australia. If you reply that the kangaroo harvest is necessary because they overrun your farms – you have to remember that THEY WEREN’T ORIGINALLY YOUR FARMS! It was Aboriginal land that was taken forcibly. Many Australians still don’t see the Aborigines as a civilized race, and they never will. They too were murdered and slaughtered, but who cares in Australia, right? It’s all about the whales. Anti whaling campaign has nothing to do with the environmental protection. It’s used as an excuse for racism and ethnocentrism. Clean up your own country before you criticize any others. Just to remind you of your own glorious history – On 13 February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as well as the Leader of the Opposition, Brendan Nelson, delivered an official apology on behalf of the Parliament of Australia to the Stolen Generations:

    “For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry,” To the mothers and fathers, the brothers and sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry. “And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.”

    Yeah – “sorry” really makes up for the countless millions who have died at the hands of their white oppressors in Australia. For crying out loud, the Australian government didn’t even recognize Aborigines’ right to citizenship until 1967. Why doesn’t Paul Watson take Aborigine issues and rights on? Because he is only for what “white” Australia wants, and this is not what “white” Australia wants. They want to divert attention from their own sordid past.

    As far as Paul Watson’s integrity goes – before you go ahead and write that donation check based on what he says is happening, perhaps you should read the following excerpt from his book, “Earthforce”. On page 93, he advised readers to invent data and to deliver it with conviction to the press to support their positions, saying that “The nature of the mass media today is such that truth is irrelevant. What is true and what is right to the general public is what is defined as true and right by the mass media. Ronald Reagan understood that the facts are not relevant. The media reported what he said as fact…. a headline comment in Monday’s newspaper far outweighs the revelation of inaccuracy revealed in a small box inside the paper on Tuesday.” Remember that folks – according to Paul Watson, the truth is irrelevant!

    Quite frankly, I congratulate Animal Planet on their continued airing of this show – it’s about as entertaining and about as real as Tool Academy and any of the Housewives shows. What does it do for the whales? Not a damn thing. More whales die in boat collisions and fishing nets than in the whale harvest. More whales are affected by sonar testing by the US Navy – but Paul Watson doesn’t have the guts to take that on. Facts people – try sticking to them.

    Dr. Shanti

  • Doug

    I think all whaling world-wide should be banned until the populations have recovered to a level at least similiar to the most modest of pre-1800’s projections. That being said, the japanese aren’t doing anything illegal. I won’t say it’s right, but it’s not illegal. What the activist(s) did, board a ship without permission, harass a science vessel, assault members of the crew with chemical attacks, IS illegal. If people are so outraged over this, they should petition the government to petition the IWC. If they are going to illegally attack science vessels doing nothing illegal, they are either pirates or terrorists.

  • Hollyell

    There are other countries that are involved in illegal whaling and it seems Japan gets the most attention. The thing that bugs me is the dishonesty about their whaling purposes.

    There has got to be a better way to create a change.

  • Dr. Shanti


    I agree with you that the whole “research” thing is a sham. But, what you have to understand is that everyone already knows this. Japan is engaged in a commercial operation disguised as a research operation. We know this. The Japanese know that we know. But we make-believe that we don’t know and the Japanese make-believe that they believe that we don’t know, but know that we know. Everybody knows. Believe it or not, many countries do business around the globe in just such a way. You would do well to not be quite so naïve about this kind of thing. The very bottom line is that despite what the Australians say, what the Japanese are doing is NOT illegal. The Sea Shepherds have the same mentality as those who bomb abortion and Family Planning clinics because they don’t believe in it, even if it’s legal to do. I guess to them, murder is OK as long as you believe in what you are doing.

    You are correct in that many other nations, including the US do similar things. However, Paul Watson is not interested in those countries because he has focused all his hate on Japan. The next target after he leaves the Southern Ocean is to go after the blue fin tuna fishermen in Malta because they sell their fish to the.. you already know this… the Japanese!!! There are whales off the coast of the Eastern US that are regularly killed and injured by ships, but who cares about this – it’s not Japan doing it. Whales are severely affected by the sonar testing in the Pacific, but who cares – it’s not Japan doing it. That’s how Paul Watson thinks. Peter Bethune just jumped on board the publicity train, as did Bob Barker. He is a pirate – as much of a scum bag as the Somali pirates. I wouldn’t worry about him getting any jail time – he’ll be let go after a while. The Japanese won’t give him the satisfaction of standing trial and becoming a martyr in the public eye. He can hand them all the bills he wants for his boat, and they’re just going to laugh and tell him to pound sand. There are videos of his boat criss-crossing in front of the whaling ships dragging lines to try and foul their rudders and prop. Because of that, no insurance company in the world is going to pay for that boat after it was clear that the Ady Gil was at fault.

    The one thing that Animal Planet has succeeded in doing is uniting the Japanese people, even those who are vehemently opposed to whaling, against the Sea Shepherds. Paul Watson has perverted the cause along racial lines, and he knows it.

    Dr. Shanti

  • tken

    I personally feel Dr.Shanti is being a little hard on the Somali pirates. At least with the Somalis you know exactly what they’re after. Make no mistake about it, Paul Watson, Peter Bethune, and the rest of the group are pirates and should be treated as such. This bunch of malcontents have broken just about every International Treaty with respect to Safety at Sea. Whether or not I or anyone else agree with whaling, is of no consequence when it comes to the safe operation of a motor vessel. I also cannot think of a single county where vigilantism is legal.

  • AnimuX

    One commenter wrote: “The Sea Shepherds have the same mentality as those who bomb abortion and Family Planning clinics because they don’t believe in it, even if it’s legal to do. I guess to them, murder is OK as long as you believe in what you are doing.”

    This is the biggest line of crap that comes out of Sea Shepherd critics time and time again.

    Let me spell this out for you.

    Sea Shepherd shoots cameras instead of machine guns and throws stink bombs instead of grenades. They don’t hold people hostage for ransom. They don’t hunt people down or beat people up.

    In THIRTY YEARS of intervention against illegal whaling and other environmentally destructive industries Sea Shepherd has not killed a single person.

    So don’t go flying off the handle with BS accusations of murder and wanton violence.

  • Dr. Shanti


    It’s great that you have learned to read, now the next step is to try and understand and comprehend the words you just read. I said they have the same mentality. I didn’t say they are out there bombing and killing. The mentality is that it’s ok to commit crimes as long as you believe in the cause. Make no mistake – by sheer definition, the Sea Shepherds are guilty of piracy and terrorism on the high seas. I am against whaling too, but there’s a legal way to do it, and there’s the Sea Shepherd way of doing it.

    Let me challenge you with a question. Let’s say you don’t like the fact that people speed on the highway. So, you get some spike strips and blow their tires out. What’s the difference between that and disabling a ships propeller or rudder in the middle of the Southern ocean. Nothing. Is it a good cause to get the cars to slow down? Yes it is. Is it the right thing to do to damage ships and endanger lives when help is so far away? No, but I’m betting you’ll find a way to justify it.

    Like it or not, what the whaling fleet is doing is legal. Attacking ships by ramming them, trying to foul their props and rudders, and throwing any object as an offensive act, IS illegal. And before you say something stupid like “well why haven’t the whalers prosecuted them”, you have to consider that these things are being handled at the governmental/diplomatic level. Not an easy thing to do.

    Try reading and understanding before you post – you’ll look less stupid that way. Perhaps the Sylvan Learning Center can help?

    Dr. Shanti

  • Dr. Shanti


    You’re right, the Somali pirates are far superior to the Sea Shepherds. At least they know how to captain ships, as opposed to Paul Watson, who in no way, shape or form has qualified as a captain of a vessel that size. I’m not just saying that to be mean, but the fact is that Paul Watson has never been certified to carry the captain rank. However, his acting skills are WAY up there! That whole “badge saved my life” thing was da bomb! Lol!

    Dr. Shanti

  • Shawn

    While I do not approve of what the Japanese are doing, I also do not approve of the Sea Shepherd. After watching the show for the first season, I concluded they are as bad or worse as the Japanese for their constant data and media manipulation efforts. I don’t think they are pirates, rather I think ‘terrorists’ better fits their motivations.

  • AnimuX

    Dr. Shanti,

    Don’t lecture anybody here about reading comprehension. Your “point” was clear. Like any other pro-whaling ideologue you compared unarmed activists to murderers.

    Sea Shepherd is no more guilty of piracy than hippies who chain themselves to trees are guilty of terrorism. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop pro-whalers from comparing Sea Shepherd activists and “treehuggers” to Al Qaida.

    Japan, on the other hand, has willfully ignored its international obligations, subverted internationally established conservation efforts and attempted to kill unarmed activists at sea by ramming and destroying one of their vessels.

    I should make this point abundantly clear to all who read this. As a military man, I can tell you for a fact that the Japanese whalers are LUCKY that Sea Shepherd is not a violent organization. A truly violent group could have killed every whaler and sunk every whaling ship for a lot less than the cost of the Ady Gil.

    This conflict continues for exactly one reason. World governments that established whaling regulations have utterly failed to uphold and enforce their own agreements. Sadly, it falls upon volunteers and an extreme interpretation of the UN Charter for Nature to attempt to do so without government support.

    One government in Japan after another has purposely violated whaling regulations since 1930s by supporting the whaling industry politically and financially. The international community does not have the political will to put an end to this because Japan is the 2nd largest economy in the world.

  • fatkid

    I have nothing against Whales. Watching them bleed and die on a Japenese Whaling ship, in a sanctuary, is disgusting. I think that if the whalers could hunt down and harpoon the whiney, flannel loving vegans that host “Whale Wars”, the ratings would soar.

    Dr. Shanti, your remark stating that we should not be naiive by thinking that laws dont protect thieves is correct, but it is wrong to sit still and allow thieves to keep stealing.

  • Albert Bakker

    If the progressing devaluation of the term terrorism, now also applied to nonviolent anti-whaling activism apparently, keeps up it’s current pace soon enough people will be shipped off to Guantanamo for jaywalking. These epiteths like pirates, terrorists etc. so carelessly put on people are effective ways to subvert the law and in some cases are a complete denial of it. It looks more like a return to an age of witch hunt trials with matching legal standards and burden of proof than it is anything else.

  • ddpalmer

    “As a military man, I can tell you for a fact that the Japanese whalers are LUCKY that Sea Shepherd is not a violent organization.”

    As a military man myself AnimuX I agree with you except the Sea Shepherds are LUCKY they aren’t more violent than they are. Because if they pushed their violence just a little bit further the Japanese much less every other country involved would send them to the bottom or see them rotting in a jail cell so fast it would make your head spin. And the whalers would keep on whaling, with new better ships if needed.

    I do agree that terrorist may not be a good term for them. But they do meet the UN definition of pirate which is why I am surprised that any country would let them enter port much less allowing them to register their vessels.

  • Albert Bakker

    It wouldn’t fit the historical paradigm of piracy or what is normally understood to be piracy and a good thing it is therefore it doesn’t fit the UN definition either.

    Part VII, article 101:

    …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…

    Arguably anti-whaling activism won’t meet the demand in the UN definition “..for private ends by the crew..” Piracy is foremost a crime of commerce and does not concern acts in the pursuit of idealism, no matter how reprehensible one might find that ideal to be.

    Relabeling an activist to (be) a pirate (or a terrorist) is just an abuse of state power in an attempt to bypass normal judicial procedures and deny one his or her due rights and make it easier to administer harsher punishments in a political act to make a terrifying example out of someone. It might also be useful for diplomatic ends.

  • Dr. Shanti


    Thanks again for proving my point about you – I clearly said the following:

    “I am not for whaling, and would like to see it abolished”

    Go back to my original post and read it again. So, why do you call me a “pro-whaling ideologue”?

    Let me ask you a question – why do you have so much pent-up violence and hatred? Is it a “Japanese” thing for you? Doesn’t it bother you that the Australians have murdered Aborigines by the millions over the last hundred years? Doesn’t bother you that the government that would like to see you get all worked up over whaling in “their” ocean has itself committed atrocities so great against their own indigenous people that they’d do just about anything to deflect attention away from themselves? Doesn’t it bother you that Peter Bethune was responsible for the death of a Guatemalan fisherman when he rammed their boat with the Earthrace (Ady Gil)? But that’s Ok with you, right? It’s all about the whales and Japan!

    I’ll put this simply, in deference to you; the Japanese government is using a loophole in the whaling laws to do what they do. Much like any lawyer in every country around the globe uses to either get their clients off the hook, or the corporations they represent to continue doing what they are doing, even if it is not right. You may not like whaling, and because I know you have some issues with understanding, I’ll say it once again – I am not for whaling either. The point is that it is legal, and the only recourse you really have is to petition your government to pressure the IWC to close that particular loophole. Throwing bottles of rotten butter and bumping ships is not going to stop whaling.

    I don’t see you railing against the Norwegians, or the Russians, or the Inuit people for their continued whaling. Why is that? Paul Watson knows better than to try throwing things at a Russian ship – they would sink him a heartbeat. Do you also harbor some special hatred for the Japanese like the Sea Shepherds? Has it occurred to you that there are many, many people in Japan that oppose whaling, and that they may be allies? Unfortunately, the racist rhetoric that the Sea Shepherds, and people like you have displayed only served to unite them all against the Sea Shepherds, even the ones who oppose whaling. Way to go!

    You’re a military man, or so you say – why don’t you protest against the US Navy right here in the US for their continued sonar testing in the Pacific? Why don’t you try and address the issue whereby countless whales are killed and injured in boat collisions off the East Coast, and drown when they get caught in US fishing nets? Why not? Because you don’t have the guts, that’s why. You’re so busy drinking the Kool-Aid that the Australians and the Sea Shepherds have given you that you can’t even see what’s going on right in your own front yard. Coward.

    As I mentioned, and everyone else but you understood – the Ady Gil was THRUSTING FORWARD to try and cross the path of the whaling ship to try and foul its prop. The wake from the screws is incontrovertible. If they stayed where they were, there would be no collision.

    Normally, I would support any member of the US Military, but your propensity to consider violence and extreme lack of understanding of the bigger picture would lead me to believe that you have some serious problems that go well beyond “Whale Wars”. Given your issues, I would seriously recommend some counseling. The military provides such things at little-to-no cost.

    This doctor can’t help you.


    I definitely agree with you! Greenpeace is actually working with the Japanese people to try and pressure their own government from within, which is the right thing to do. Putting pressure on your own governments to make the IWC close the loophole is also the way to go. Seeing whales slaughtered is distressing, I agree with that. But, it’s no more distressing than watching how they really treat pigs on a pig farm. Watch the HBO special “Death on a Factory Farm”. I guarantee that you’ll give up pork after that! What makes a pig less “majestic” than a whale? They’re intelligent, show emotion, and make great companions. But, pork is a business, as is whaling.

    Dr. Shanti

  • ddpalmer

    I guess you have a problem with plain English, Albert. Because you post the info that proves my point.

    Mr. Bethune committed violence when he destroyed the netting to board the Shonan Maru #2, not to mention his numerous acts of violence prior to that one. And once he was on board he demanded $3 million, there you have private gain. Violence and private gain, looks to me to meet the definition of a pirate by the UN LOS. And if you look at Article 103 that also makes the Steve Irwin a pirate vessel subject to seizure by any military or deputized vessel that wants to stop them.

    And you don’t have to rely on my reading of the UN LOS. An Australian international law expert agrees that the asking for money pushes it into piracy, or at least makes a case for piracy which is all the Japanese need to prosecute him.

  • tken

    If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck and poops like a duck: Chances are, it’s a duck! The subject of this blog is whether or not a member of an anti-whaling group is guilty of piracy. In typical fashion, those who have an indefensible position are attempting to change the subject and interject emotional justification for bad behavior to sway opinion in their favor. Natalie Klein, an associate professor at Macquarie Law School and the author of Dispute Settlement in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea believes that the anti-whalers are behaving like pirates. She served as a member of the Sydney panel of international legal experts advising the International Fund for Animal Welfare on Australia’s dispute settlement options against Japan over whaling. Her opinion was published last Thursday in the Australian News. I favor piracy over terrorism because it is my understanding (obtained from a retired Senior Chief of the US Navy) acts of piracy in international waters are prosecuted in the targeted parties home country. Terrorist on the other hand are prsecuted in the country that apprehended them.

  • Albert Bakker

    #32 ddpalmer -Yes it is possible that I might misinterpret even ‘plain’ English, it not being my native language and all. Especially my grammar would suck miserably I suspect and I apologize for that. But with all due respect I think that not to be the explanation for my obstinacy.

    We can agree at least and with the Aussie expert in your article that the key point here is “..for private ends..” And by that we mean the acquisition of money or valued goods by non sovereign entities and not gaining immaterial goals like for example temporarily saving a few whales from being slaughtered.

    Piracy we normally and historically understand to be armed robbery at sea and that’s what the definition is meant to capture in legalese.

    Now it is to be argued whether mr. Bethune climbing on board a ship armed with a piece of paper demanding restitution for ramming and sinking their boat is an act of armed robbery. I think this is a rather clear cut case of stretching the facts well beyond breaking point. Unless perhaps you are a Japanese judge. Which is the reality to what author points to as I read it.

    The issue with respect to the piracy issue, not the illegality issue per se is I think not whether Sea Shepherd has policing powers. Of course they do not, they are activists. It lies in the nature of activism that it goes against state powers. If it were we wouldn’t have this discussion because whaling wouldn’t exist.

    This is a dangerous game because it might well spiral into to much more violence, bombing attacks, kidnappings and real terrorism instead of ending peaceful activism albeit at times from an admittedly pertinacious nature.

  • ddpalmer

    English isn’t my native language either. But the UN LOS is worded very simply. It doesn’t say anything about armed robbery. If that is what they meant then that is what they would have said.

    And the historical context of piracy is immaterial. The UN LOS was enacted in 1982 long after the Barbary Coast pirates and Blackbeard.

    It may be moot because it seems more likely that Japan will charge him under the Japanese Maritime Code. This would be easier for them. I am sure Japanese courts, judges and lawyers are more familiar with the Japanese laws and their application than with UN/International laws. Also if they charge him under Japanese laws they won’t have as many foreign ‘experts’ offering their interpretations of the laws as would happen if the used international laws.

  • AnimuX

    Dr. Shanti Says “I am not for whaling, and would like to see it abolished”

    Which is exactly why you continue to run through a list of pro-whaling talking points. You’re not fooling anybody doc.

    This is not about the past exploitation of Australian aborigines or a fisherman killed in a boating accident (where the Earthrace stopped, rendered aid to another injured man at the scene and was cleared of any wrongdoing). Just because you don’t see me mentioning other whaling nations here doesn’t mean I don’t oppose them as well but your poor attempt to label me as racist is obvious. This is also not about the US Navy’s use of sonar that potentially harms dolphins and whales that rely on echolocation. It’s also not about the global problem of fishing methods that arbitrarily kill other marine animals and cetaceans as bycatch.

    In the span of your reply you merely solidified your position as a pro-whaling ideologue.

    You attempted to justify Japanese whaling. Many legal experts disagree with your opinion including 3 independent panels convened by the IFAW in recent years. Not to mention the Australian Federal Court. Regardless of any one opinion, the historical evidence of Japan’s violation and subversion of internationally established whaling regulations and conservation efforts is factual and sadly obvious. Historically, Japan has violated size limits, species limits, gender limits, sanctuary boundaries, and has even facilitated pirate whaling operations (killing whales without reporting the catch using foreign labor and smuggling the meat to Japan) prior to the current incarnation of industrial whaling as so-called “research”.

    You continue to assert the Sea Shepherd organization is violent despite the fact that in 30 years of operation they haven’t killed a single person. They’ve not been convicted in any court of piracy and any attempt to assert they’re guilty of such allegations is a stretch of the imagination. They’ve not taken hostages or threatened lives for ransom. They’ve not murdered anyone or beaten anyone. Throwing stink bombs at a boat is not piracy.

    You attempt to change the subject and cast aspersions of racism and hypocrisy by falsely implying I have no qualms with other whaling nations, other threats against whales or the injustices committed by Australians (or white peoples in general) over the course of history.

    You even included a direct attack on the leader of Sea Shepherd which is a common and popular tactic for all pro-whalers. And suggested that the Ady Gil was purposely wrecked by the activists when video evidence clearly shows the Shonan Maru 2 turns directly toward the idling Ady Gil and closes the distance after its turn in about 9 seconds giving the activists little to no time to react.

    And on top of everything else, you call me a coward simply for pointing out your flawed and severely pro-whaling biased responses.

    Face it. You’re a typical pro-whaling ideologue scumming up this blog and no doubt countless other message boards with your BS accusations while falsely representing yourself as objective. Your own responses here have shown you’re not at all objective.

    Oh, and my years of voluntary active duty service to my country during time of war including deployment to Baghdad are proof enough of my courage.

    Doc, you don’t need help. You need a reality check.

  • Dr. Shanti


    I usually applaud all those who served in the military, but to someone as unbalanced as you are, I would reserve that. You purport to have courage, but can’t look at the facts straight without the emotional impact of whaling clouding your judgment. You’re simply another sad example of the masses that are shown a few images, and then told what to think about it like some mindless automaton.

    Your racism is clear, as is your complete and utter failure to see pure physics in action. The Ady Gil THRUSTED FORWARD, which is shown clearly in the impact video. Paul Watson said that they were thrusting backwards, and then changed his story to say that they were standing still – no who is going to believe that, when the video shows an increased wake going forward. I’ll send you some videos of toy boats in a pool so you can see what everyone else but you already understands. Their tactic was to try and drag a prop-fouling line in front of the whaler at the last second and miscalculated the speed. Stupid move. Videos show the line dragging behind them so you can’t deny it..

    Don’t think that bringing up your service in Baghdad is going to change anything – you’re still coming off as a mindless idiot. Most people in the military are trained as observers and are extremely reliable as to report what they have seen, but you are an obvious exception to that. You’re still a coward for ignoring the bigger picture and focusing on the small picture right in front of you that is being spoon-fed to you. Whaling in the Southern ocean is only a fraction of the bigger picture, but you are either an immense coward, or completely incompetent – now which is it? It’s only one of the two.

    I’ll state again, because you are caught up on this – I am anti-whaling. However, that does not mean that I agree with the tactics used by the Sea Shepherds. For going along with what many in the world consider illegal action is a sign of a really feeble mind that can’t think for itself. I would go along with Greenpeace and change policy from the inside out. That’s a more logical and safe tactic that will surely end whaling long before any bunch of idiots who are just out for publicity.

    I am not justifying whaling, I am saying that because they use the loophole in the law, it is legal for them to do so. The same way the many big corporate executives can avoid paying normal taxes by utilizing loopholes in tax law. I don’t agree with that either, because it puts a heavier tax burden on those that can’t afford it as much. It’s the same thing – we would like to see it changed, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to get the laws changed.

    You’re a sad individual that has little-to-no comprehension as to what the bigger picture is. I’ll give you credit for serving in the military, but it’s really a tragedy that it didn’t have any real positive impact in your outlook or ability to assess any kind of real situation. I’m not out to fool anyone – simply weighing in like everyone else. The only one here that was fooled by anything is you.

    Dr. Shanti

  • Dr. Shanti


    I agree with you, but I would say again that I would think that the only thing that will happen to Peter Bethune will be to be held for a short amount of time, and then released as New Zealand negotiates with Japan. Peter wants to stay on board and become a martyr in the eyes of the world. The Japanese won’t give him that satisfaction. The same way they didn’t prosecute the other two that did the same thing two years ago.

    I would think that the definitions of piracy and terrorist may have to be examined to see if they actually fit Peter Bethune. Yes, he went on board and demanded money, but he simply handed them a bill for his boat, not demanded it at gunpoint, so the law will have to be scrutinized very closely.

    There was the damage to the whaling vessel, but it was minor, and considering that his boat is at the bottom of the Southern ocean, I doubt that they would pursue anything.

    New Zealand, Japan, and Australia are strong trade partners, and this will eventually get swept aside by all parties. That’s the truth, like it or not.

    I would still advise anyone reading this to contact their representatives for ways to try and put pressure on the IWC to get the loopholes closed – that would wnd the whaling. I’ve tried to explain this to Animux but his monumental ignorance about even the simplest things is epic in proportion.

    Dr. Shanti

  • AnimuX

    Dr. Shanti Says “I usually applaud all those who served in the military, but to someone as unbalanced as you are, I would reserve that. You purport to have courage, but can’t look at the facts straight without the emotional impact of whaling clouding your judgment. ”

    Yet the first opportunity you get you immediately leap to the most irrational and emotional arguments possible including:

    1) Alleging unarmed activists who’ve never killed or threatened to kill anybody are functionally equivalent to terrorists, pirates and abortion clinic bombers

    2) Alleging activists who were about to be pulverized by an 800 tonne whaling ship purposely raced their boat in front of the oncoming juggernaut when video footage clearly shows the 800 tonne whaling “security ship” sharply turned toward an idle and much smaller activist vessel. Out of an entire open ocean for the SM2 to travel in, it curiously and suddenly altered its course to collide with the Ady Gil.

    3) Alleging those that oppose the actions of the SM2 and the long history of Japanese violation of whaling regulations are racist and hypocrites who don’t show concern for other injustices in the world.

    4) Alleging that any opinion in opposition to your own is mindless, brainwashing (kool-aid), or foolish despite the long list of scientists, legal experts, national leaders and others who have voiced opposition to the Japanese whaling industry.

    Japan has failed to honor its international obligations and purposely subverted international conservation efforts since the 1930s. In predictable sequence with a historically verifiable pattern of this behavior Japan continues to financially and politically support whaling in opposition not only to international conventions but repeated (almost annual) IWC resolutions calling upon Japan to end its lethal research programs.

    The captain and crew of the SM2 thought they could wreck an activist ship, kill her crew and call it an accident. They failed and it’s all on video record for the world to see. Those who are desperately and emotionally bound to defend the whalers struggle to make their case. “Look at how -after- the SM2 charges straight for the motionless Ady Gill that at the last possible second they just jump right out and get hit!” The most ridiculous and critically flawed argument to date since the Japanese government called Greenpeace activists “terrorists” after their members chained themselves to harpoon ships in Japan.

    As for Greenpeace working from within Japan, I have no problem with that. However, the Japanese government’s continued irrational support for whaling can clearly be seen in the abuse of two Greenpeace activists who have been turned into political prisoners in their own country. Japanese Greenpeace activists had their basic human rights violated by their own government all for attempting to expose criminal acts of whalers. They went to the police with their evidence and they were charged instead of the real criminals.

    All of this boils down to one simple fact. The Japanese government is willing to bend and break any rules necessary to keep whaling going regardless of international objections. World governments don’t have the political backbone to put an end to the whaling problem so civilians with an extreme interpretation of the UN Charter for Nature are doing the job of governments by attempting to enforce internationally established whaling regulations in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

    No detail has been missed doc. The big picture is quite clear.

  • WhaleDiner

    hey Dr. Shanti! Great posts! The people that oppose the SSCS are numerous. We are not as loud as the SSCS, but we are dedicated, and want to make sure the Japanese people on board their whaling ships are safe.
    AnimuX has drank all of the Watson Kool-aid and will not believe anything you tell her. She still believes Watson was shot, that bethune was kidnapped, and that the AG was idle the WHOLE time.
    Wonder if that kool-aid is spiked?
    Hope too see you around the anti-eco terrorist circles.

  • WhaleDiner

    I should mention, AnimuX also thinks that the minke whale is endangered!

  • AbleBodySeaman

    “The captain and crew of the SM2 thought they could wreck an activist ship, kill her crew and call it an accident. ”

    So the Japanese Captain, who is a real captain unlike Peter and Paul (I wonder where Mary is at?), didn’t see the Bob Barker there and didn’t know that there were cameras on the Bob Barker so they thought they could get away with it?

    Did you get a psych discharge or what?

    And haven’t you ever heard of stories where people panic and hit forward instead of reverse? I don’t think the Ady Gil was pulling a prop fouler, although they had been earlier in the day. But I do think either by accident or panic whoever was at the Ady Gil controls went forward and contributed to the collision.

  • Dr. Shanti


    Thanks! Funny thing – I was banned off of the Sea Shepherd Forum for simply adding that the Southern Ocean is not recognized as Australian territory except by the Australians. No other country on the planet recognizes their claim. They also didn’t want to hear that the Minke whale is not endangered. Paul Watson also claimed that Japan was still the same fascist state it was in 1943, which is clearly racist. I cited these things and was banned – I guess they just don’t want to hear the truth, like some other folks here, right, Animux?

    Speaking of facts, let’s talk about some right here and now, shall we?

    Fact: The Ady Gil was filmed only moments before the collision dragging a prop fouler to stop the whaling ship. They were also utilizing a blinding laser, which they were obviously having trouble using.

    Fact: The SM2 did veer towards the Ady Gil, but was not on a collision course.

    Fact: The Ady Gil THRUSTED FORWARD at the last moment, causing the collision. See the video – look for the increased wake behind the thrusters just before the hit.

    Fact: Paul Watson immediately issues a statement saying that the Gil was stationary at the time of the collision, which it was clearly not.

    Fact: Paul Watson changes his story and says now that the Gil was going backwards to avoid the collision. I guess the physics in Bizarro World are different than ours.

    Fact: Every expert in maritime physics that has seen this video faults the Gil for the collision as it was clear that it engaged forward thrust. It had been determined that if the Gil had not made this maneuver, there would have been no collision.

    Fact: I have been labeled as a “pro-whaling ideologue” even though I have stated several times that I am against whaling.

    Fact: Animux has clearly demonstrated that he/she knows as much about actual physics and observations as he/she does about personal courage. Animux refuses to acknowledge the facts and demonstrates a racist view that clouds his/her vision of the bigger picture. Again – nothing but a mindless, sniveling little coward who thinks they know about Japanese history when all they could do was to cut/paste from other sites thinking it was the truth.

    Fact: The Sea Shepherd tactics will NEVER end whaling, and have actually turned anti-whaling people against them, like Greenpeace and me, not to mention the people who would have been the strongest allies – the many Japanese people who oppose whaling.

    Fact: AbleBody Seaman is absolutely correct in that neither Paul Watson nor Peter Bethune has actually ever certified as a Sea Captain. None of the Sea Shepherds have this qualification for the vessels that they in control of and they are the last to understand anything about maritime laws.

    Fact: The Japanese do operate within a loophole to continue their whaling activities. You may not like it, but right now, it’s legal.

    Fact: It IS illegal to board a foreign-flagged vessel without permission.

    Fact: Paul watson has been quoted as saying: “If you do not know an answer, a fact, or a statistic, then simply follow the example of an American President and do as Ronald Reagan did—make it up on the spot and deliver the information confidently and without hesitation. This is the person you are getting your information from, Animux???

    These are incontrovertible facts – you don’t have to like it, it is what it is.

    Dr. Shanti

  • AnimuX

    For some reason my post with links is not appearing here it is without the supporting links:

    WhaleDiner makes an accusation that Japan does not kill endangered whales.

    Here are the numbers reported killed, by Japan, to the IWC for the 2008/09 hunt – species status is according to the IUCN Red List:

    1 Endangered Fin whale

    2 Vulnerable Sperm whales

    100 Endangered Sei whales

    Also killed:
    50 Bryde’s whales listed as Data Deficient

    680 Antarctic Minke whales listed as Data Deficient *

    171 Common Minke whales listed as Least Concern **

    * The Antarctic Minke whale is listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN indicating more information is needed on current population size to definitively categorize its status. Some indicators point to a size that would classify the species as Least Concern. Other indicators point to a significant decrease in population size that would classify the species as endangered.

    ** A DNA study recently revealed that up to 46% of the Minke whale meat in Japanese markets came from “protected” J-stock whales. The same study also revealed up to 150 more whales are taken annually as bycatch by Japanese fishermen including endangered species. Japanese laws allow fishermen to sell bycatch whales creating an incentive for unregulated whaling.

    Japan also imports the meat of endangered Fin whales from Iceland.

  • AnimuX

    Fact: The Ady Gil was filmed sitting idle in the water when the Shonan Maru 2 changed course directly toward the Ady Gil and struck the activist vessel about 9 seconds after altering its course nearly killing 6 people. The vessel later sank as a result of the damage. That’s violence. That’s piracy on the high seas.

    Fact: Supporting video footage shows the Ady Gil’s engines had been stopped and the crew was not engaged in any action against the Shonan Maru 2 at the time of the collision.

    Fact: Pete Bethune has broken the world circumnavigation speed record in the Ady Gil (then called the Earth Race) – the same ship he was actively in command of during the collision. Paul Watson has commanded vessels at sea for over 30 years and served prior to that time as a member of the Canadian Coast Guard as well as a merchant mariner.

    Fact: Since the 1930s Japan has violated internationally established whaling regulations including size limits, species limits, seasonal limits, gender limits and sanctuary boundaries.

    Fact: Japan actively supported illegal whaling operations in the 1970s and 80s referred to as pirate whaling. Investigator Nick Carter, recognized by the UNEP for his work, exposed the Japanese establishment and support of front companies set up in countries around the world that killed whales without regard for IWC regulations and did not report catches. The meat was secretly smuggled to Japan.

    Fact: Japan first used the Article VIII science loophole in 1976. The IWC set a zero catch quota for Bryde’s whales. Japan responded by issuing itself a science permit and proceeded to kill over 200 Bryde’s whales the next season.

    Fact: The Japanese abuse the science exemption of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in direct opposition to the IWC scientific committees that did not approve of Japanese research whaling proposals and multiple IWC resolutions calling upon Japan to end its lethal research programs in both the North Pacific and Southern Ocean.

    Fact: A professor of international and maritime law at the Australian National University, Don Rothwell, has stated the boarding of the SM2 by Pete Bethune is not illegal.

    Unfortunately, pro-whaling ideologues like “Dr. Shanti” will continue to make up their own story and try to sell it on blogs and message boards as reality.

  • Dr. Shanti


    Again with the cut/paste? You have absolutely NO idea what that data is, do you? You found a site and just cut/pasted away.

    You are a pathetic example of what’s wrong with some folks – you don’t think for yourself. You let others think for you. Maybe that’s your personal legacy of being in the military. What if I told you that many times those numbers die as a result of shipping accidents and getting caught in fishing netting operations off the Eastern Seaboard? What concerns you the most about what the Japanese are doing in the Southern ocean? More whales and dolphins, and God knows what else, die as a result of things that we do right here in the good old U.S. of A. What about that is so Ok that we can ignore it and concentrate on the fraction of that that the Japanese take in the Southern ocean? I’d really like to hear your response on that.

    All jokes about the Paul Watson Kool-Aid aside – so many other countries, yours included, do so much more damage – why is that OK with you?

    Dr. Shanti

  • Jim Wyatt

    Pete Bethune is a sad pawn in Paul Watson’s games in the Southern ocean. Pete has no right to make a citizens arrest on a foreign flagged vessel despite Mr Watson’s claim to the contrary. Mr Watson opines that a NZ citizen may make a citizens arrest under NZ law if the sentence for the crime under NZ law exceeds a certain number of years (apparently the number varies from yarn to yarn). Certainly the charge of attempted murder that Mr Watson was railing on about in his commentaries would seem sufficiently grave so as to fall under the provisions of the NZ law. Mr Watson states that Captain Bethune was merely serving an arrest warrant on the Whaling ship Captain, as entitled under NZ law, when he boarded the Shonan Maru 2.

    There are just a couple of flys in the ointment though. The NZ Crimes Act of 1961, cited by Mr Watson, requires service of the warrant to be in NZ jurisdiction. The international waters where the boarding took place fall well outside the boundaries of NZ jurisdiction. A foreign flagged vessel is not within NZ jurisdiction. The service of the warrant also requires a breach of NZ law, as well as a breach serious enough to warrant a substantial prison term. Pete Bethune falls short on both counts.

    Sea Shepherd was kind enough to divulge the contents of the arrest warrant served by Captain Bethune. There is no charge of attempted murder listed in the arrest warrant. There is no breach of a specific NZ law mentioned in the arrest warrant. The charge of the arrest warrant simply blames the Captain of the whaling vessel for the collision; nothing more. This then is not a breach of NZ law, let alone a serious breach rising to warrant a prison sentence. This is simply a matter for a maritime investigation at the conclusion of the voyage. Captain Bethune is subject to Japanese law from the time that he made forcible entry onto the Shonan Maru 2 by cutting through the defensive netting perimeter of the ship.

  • AnimuX

    Dr. Shanti Says “Again with the cut/paste?”

    What’s the matter? Can’t handle the truth?

    You’ve devolved considerably from your initial posts into a pointless rehashing of insults and accusations.

    Once again you resort to emotional and irrational statements proving you are indeed a pro-whaling ideologue and not objective.

  • Dr. Shanti


    You wrote the following….

    Fact: Japan actively supported illegal whaling operations in the 1970s and 80s referred to as pirate whaling. Investigator Nick Carter, recognized by the UNEP for his work, exposed the Japanese establishment and support of front companies set up in countries around the world that killed whales without regard for IWC regulations and did not report catches. The meat was secretly smuggled to Japan.

    Are you aware that he also wrote a sweeping indictment of the Russians and alluded to the US as a contributor to the issue, especially citing an “Eskimo conspiracy”! Really??? Are you kidding me??? Again, I ask you – why focus on the Japanese – why no mention of the Russians or the “Eskimo conspiracy”?

    You should REALLY research these things before you cut/paste them in!

    Try actually reading stuff before you cut/past. Just because you see it on the Internet, it doesn’t make it true. For the umpteenth time – try thinking for yourself, or just maybe try thinking for a change.

    Dr. Shanti

  • AnimuX

    What’s particularly sad about this issue is the complete ignorance most people tend to display of the history of industrial whaling.

    Most people who address this issue fail to research the history leading up to this point. They fail to see the pattern of abuse and rule violation that led to the near extinction of many species of great whales. They fail to see how whaling today directly descends from the same practices that brought about a global moratorium on commercial whaling in the first place.

    What’s even more disturbing is the tendency for personal politics to render judgment on the issue combined with the ignorance of history. Those who see Sea Shepherd and other ‘animal rights’ groups as representative of leftist politics lash out without studying the whole problem.

    It’s particularly disappointing considering that the moratorium on commercial whaling would not have happened if not for a combination of pressure on Japan and other whaling nations from both conservation groups, like Greenpeace, and the government of the USA. After all, it was conservative US President Ronald Reagan who officially sanctioned Japan in 1988 for violating IWC regulations under the Packwood-Magnuson amendment and had previously gotten Japan to drop its objection to the moratorium.

    As I’ve read about this in one book after another on the history of whaling it’s very clear that Japan is a habitual abuser of international whaling regulations. It would be nice if others out there would educate themselves on this sordid bit of history before leaping to Japan’s defense.

  • AnimuX

    Dr. Shanti Says: [he doesn’t believe Nick Carter’s research on Japanese support for pirate whaling is valid]

    Here is the UNEP press release upon Nick Carter’s passing:

    “NAIROBI, 21 March 2000 – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has learned with shock and profound sadness of the death of Nick Carter, on Thursday 16 March 2000. Mr. Carter had been ailing for some time. An award-winning advocate for African Wildlife, he devoted much of his life to the cause of combating the illegal trade in wildlife species.

    Nick worked tirelessly in wildlife conservation. In the 1970s he doggedly pursued companies that killed whales illegally þ a process known as pirate whaling. More recently, his focus turned to the illegal African trade in tusks, horns and hides, which according to Interpol statistics, is worth as much as $5 billion a year. Nick Carter was determined to confront this problem. He was one of the initiators of Africa’s first Conference of Wildlife enforcement officers in 1992. That Conference led to the development of the Lusaka Agreement on Cooperative Enforcement Operations directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora.

    Nick’s devotion to the cause of wildlife conservation in Africa and beyond, won recognition both in his adopted homeland, Zambia, and internationally as well. In 1997 he won the prestigious Goldman Prize. Nick received a sum of $75,000 from this foundation. In keeping with his commitment and zeal for animal conservation, he gave the money to individuals and groups supporting conservation. Nick also served as an advisor to the Zambian Government on wildlife matters.

    His colleagues at UNEP will fondly remember Nick for his zeal and commitment to the Lusaka Agreement which also received a portion of his winnings to ensure the Task Forceþs smooth operation.

    UNEP owes Nick Carter a huge debt that can only be repaid by continuing the fight for the same goals to which Nick dedicated his life. He will be missed by his colleagues at UNEP, the Government of Zambia, the Parties to the Lusaka Agreement, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force and his fellow Conservationists. “

  • whalediner

    Dr. Shanti, please come to the website
    Since opposing views are not welcome on the SSCS website, and the Animal Planet Whale wars forum was closed at the request of Paul, some of us have moved there. It is not too active, but we share views, and discussions of current events.

  • Dr. Shanti


    Those books you have read – they are mostly pictures, right? Maybe they’re all pictures with the text in little “balloons” above each character? If you have actually read some books, or have had some books read to you, you would have learned that Japan is only part of the world picture when it comes to whaling.

    You still won’t answer the question as to why you focus on Japan? I am against whaling by ANY nation, not just Japan. If you are as anti-whaling as you claim to be, then why not say anything against Russia or Norway, who still continue their whaling today? I have a good idea it’s because you saw a few episodes of “Whale Wars” and decided you knew all there was to the world-wide issue of whaling because that’s what Paul Watson told you that you should think.

    Every time you are asked to provide an answer, you do the cut/paste thing again from sites in which you have little-to-no understanding.

    I say again to you – Greenland, Russia, Iceland, and Norway all engage in whaling – why do you only focus on the Japanese? I support Greenpeace and their efforts to end whaling everywhere it exists. What do you do? Sit at home, stuffing your face and watching “Whale Wars” and thinking that makes you an expert on world economic affairs for the last century. The real truth is that you’re an ignorant cretin that is like a little yappy dog, barking and nipping at that which it does not understand. For you, I’d prescribe some Ritalin, but I have a feeling you may already be on something, or a combination of things. Go back to your doctor and tell him you have trouble comprehending and have scattered thoughts. You aren’t on Lithium Carbonate, are you?

    The next time you pick up a book – make sure the title doesn’t end with “….for Idiots”. Or maybe that would be appropriate.

    Dr. Shanti

  • Dr. Shanti


    It would be my pleasure – thanks for the invite!

    Dr. Shanti

  • AnimuX

    I don’t only focus on the Japanese whaling industry Doc.

    That’s just an accusation -you- continue to make.

    By the way, the topic of the blog we’re all responding to is Japan’s whaling industry, Pete Bethune and intervention against Japan’s whaling industry by Pete and Sea Shepherd.

    However, it can be argued that Japan is the single worst offender when it comes to killing whales today. Specifically because Japan kills endangered species, hunts in an internationally established whale sanctuary and imports whale meat from both Iceland (such as endangered fin whale) and Norway thus acting as the market force driving the global trade in whale meat. Japan is also primarily responsible for a great deal of propaganda and uses its economic power to influence other nations in the IWC to vote for pro-whaling interests.

    Oh and doc, you’re still responding like a pro-whaler. Are you just going to continue to deny it? Do yourself a favor and admit you’ve taken a side on this issue.

  • Albert Bakker

    I scarcely read anything from “Dr. Shanti” but personal insults, provocations, false accusations and fallacious arguments. I wonder what it is you are trying to prove if it is not that you were very sensibly kicked off that forum (if that even was the case) for misbehaving likewise. Are there no real arguments to state your case?

    Maybe you would do well indeed to take up on WhaleDiner’s offer and surround yourself with likeminded “objective” anti-whalers, because in this fashion you are not making much of an impression outside that circle.

  • AbleBodySeaman

    “After all, it was conservative US President Ronald Reagan who officially sanctioned Japan in 1988 for violating IWC regulations under the Packwood-Magnuson amendment and had previously gotten Japan to drop its objection to the moratorium.”

    Don’t you mean ‘…and had previously blackmailed Japan to drop its objection to the moratorium’?

    I know ‘blackmail’ sounds worse than ‘gotten’ but isn’t that exactly what the US did?

    “Maybe you would do well indeed to take up on WhaleDiner’s offer and surround yourself with likeminded “objective” anti-whalers,…” You mean like the SSCS forum where you get all your ideas and ‘facts’? Where you get banned immediately for getting out of step and showing any sign of independent thought?

  • Gabe

    Firstly to the poster known formally as Shawn…
    Terrorosts, yeah right…of course you would say that….your whole reasoning fro saying anything I think is basically your a pawn for others….Considering that you base your facts on some Voodoo science and at the end of the day your really just taking a posittion for the hell of it…I bet up to a few days ago you didnt care a bit about what happened down south and now its just out of spite…

    The good doctor I always am concerned about people who shout racism in arguments like this one normally to these people they have never lifted a hand to fight an evil like racism but instead try to use it as a tool to muddy the water…I think our good doctor is not blocked on the site he talks about and if he indeed is it is for posting the same argument over and over again about Kangaroos…He actually became a laughing stock on the site in question because he made even less sense than he trieds to here…

    Good work AnimuX dont worry about the half baked insults flowing from the good so-called doctors pen..It just shows once again how desperate the pro whalers are…the proof as they say is in the pudding as to the polls on this one, on just one anti whaling site the members number just short of 500.000 members the smallest sit on about 5600…the largest pro-whaling site the number cant even push by 1000…and the number has been steady at that mark for well over 5 weeks…A anti whaling site set up over just three days made 560 plus in three days its name was can this cow dung get more members than the Institute of Cetacean reasearch…(funnily enough the site having difficulty hitting a 1000)

    Ableseaman your whole argument seems to be made up of so-called facts that really just mark you out as yet another anti american malcontent…as for your assertion that the USA blackmailed Japan…well maybe what is closer to the point is that Japan was too stupid to see the trap it was drawn into..but history proves that this has often been exactly the problem with Japan too tied up in there own world to see the one outside its nation…
    Actions by japan 70 odd years ago point to this.

    Where you get banned immediately for getting out of step and showing any sign of independent thought?
    Ahhh I think again you have got your sites confused the one with close on 5oo,000 memebers is the open forum where we debate on, however comments involving hate speech racism or spamming gets you banned…
    Again, however the flagship Pro-Whaling site ICR with its less than 1000 members is where you get banned if you dont follow the party line of Pro-whaling good every other opinion bad or racist…

    But this is not about sites this is about numbers 50,000 Japanese members of the Anti Whaling site says quite alot…theproblem is for the likes of the good doctor and his cohorts is a numbers game…they just cant win because both in Eurpoe and on the Pacific Rim they are losing the battle of hearts and minds and a major contributer to those numbers are two small black ships in the Southern Ocean…and they cant stand that.

    I think the public has spoken…and they back by huge numbers Anti-Whaling.

  • ddpalmer

    AnimuX keeps posting the same tripe again and again hoping repetition will make it true.

    And now he has called his cyber-friends, probably the only kind he has, to help support him here because we are being mean to him.

  • AbleBodySeaman

    “…another anti american malcontent…”

    Don’t know where you get that Gabe. Just because I call blackmail what it is, and I noticed you didn’t argue with that word in fact you seem to agree that is what was done. I love the USA and have thought it was a great place since the day I moved here and became a citizen. I even spent 20 years in the US military and I am still in the active reserve. If I didn’t think it was the best I would return to Africa, I have had job offers there that pay more than I make here, yet I stay. But I don’t remain blind to the fact that it isn’t perfect and that, like every other country, the US has made mistakes in the past and acted dishonorably at times. I do what I can to keep those things from happening again and part of that is not sweeping them under the rug.

    Your numbers game is fun Gabe but if it the anti-whalers have such impressive numbers then why hasn’t the research loophole been closed? Why hasn’t Japan, Iceland, Norway, etc. been taken to court over their whaling? And why is it a SSCS member is on his way to Japan to face charges rather than a member of the whaling fleet headed to Australia?

    Those three, oh sorry only two now, black boats are setting whale protection back further every day they remain off the bottom.

    I think the public has spoken…and they are apathetic about whaling by huge numbers.

  • tken

    Well something has surely happened. As of today (or yesterday depending on which side of the International Dateline your on) the Pirate Ship Bob Barker is no longer flying the Togolese flag. Could it be that following Faux Captain Paul Watsons letter to Natalie Klein in which he freely and fully confesses that the SeaShepherd members are in fact pirates, and, their attack on the Japanese Research Vessel last Thursday included the use of shoulder fired missile launchers cost them their ships registry in Togo?

    And Gabe, as you seem to be quite confident in your purported facts, could you please supply the link to the ICR blog as I cannot seem to find it on their website.

  • AbleBodySeaman

    I have been reading reports for a few days that Togo pulled the Bob Barker’s registry but have had very little luck finding a really good source.

    Has a statement, not a quote, from Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada referring to the registry being pulled. And I guess at least one of the Ship info websites shows the registry as being removed. Equasis, the registry site my company uses for info stills shows Togo, but they are slow on updates.

  • tken

    It will be interesting to see the Steve Irwin pressed into service as an oiler. At least one of the third world countries that affords ship registry to these idiots has come to its senses, we’ll just have to wait and see if the other one does as well. I see this as a major victory for all Seamen who’s safety at sea will benefit from this decision by the Republic of Togo. God knows the open ocean is dangerous enough without the added risk, now and in the future, of ship ramming and crew endangerment under the guise of environmentalism.

  • AbleBodySeaman

    Togo is actually pretty good about enforcing safety and manning issues on their flagged vessels, unlike some countries that would register an old bathtub as long as they got their fees. But they are a relatively poor country and merchant ship registrations do bring in a steady income with little cost. I suspect that they didn’t do much if any checking before flagging the Bob Barker, or they may have been lied to (not that the SSCS would ever lie). But unlike some countries, which shall remain nameless, they did take the responsible action when it became clear that the ship was violating numerous IMO regulations.

  • tken

    I may have spoken too soon and if so I apologize to the Dutch Government. Upon closer review of the video of the most recent assault by the Pirate Ship Bob Barker on the Japanese Research vessel it appears that the Pirate Ship Steve Irwin is no longer flying the Netherlands flag. And it also appears both ships have struck their traditional black Pirate Flags.

  • Joan

    To the original question:
    Let’s see now; Captain Pete has his shipped rammed when he is sitting out on the deck and ought to be acting as a lookout for the helmsman who can’t see a bad situation developing. He and his crew are picked up by the Bob Barker and later transferred to the Steve Irwin, which returns Captain Pete to port. Instead of going to the authorities and pressing charges against the captain of the Shonan Maru 2, Captain Pete decides to go back to the Southern Ocean and take the law into his own hands. He takes part in small boat raids, trys to foul props, shoots objects (acid bottles?) at whaling ships from an air bazooka, and finally boards a foreign vessel in the dead of night by cutting his way in. He demands the captain submit to him and he demands money as well. And the question is asked,” Is the Anti-Whaling Activist Who Boarded a Japanese Whaling Ship a Pirate?”
    The obvious answer is YES, of course he is a pirate. But he has a letter, you say! Well then, a letter changes everything doesn’t it? Sorry for the misunderstanding, Pete. Be on your way now!
    Enjoy your boat ride to Japan!

  • Erik

    ahhh…so this is where that vile entity that was known as animuckitup on the whale wars forum came to. Still spouting the straight watson lies. Constantly proven wrong, he /she merely tried to tire everyone out by spamming his words day in and day out moving the truth far back in the posts. Doesnt matter, watson still lies, bethune is another attention seeking klown, and animux continues to simply be an echo chamber for anything they say.

  • Albert Bakker

    No, Joan #66, that’s a strawman. The question is not whether Bethune had his demand written down or whether he would have delivered it orally, also you don’t have to agree with anything he did and all pro or anti whaling arguments also are irrelevant to the issue.

    The question is not whether his actions are all morally defensible but whether they constitute piracy and it quite simply does not, not according to the everyday public understanding of piracy, not to the historical understanding of piracy and also not to the UN definition.

    If Bethune would have stolen Japanese whalers taken the crew hostage and sold the meat on the black market, thàt would have constituted piracy. Boarding the Japanese vessel in order to demand compensation for ramming and sinking your boat is perhaps hopelessly naive and futile on his part, but does not constitute piracy in any conceivable way.

    Relabeling someone a pirate just to circumvent the law is an abuse of state power, which seems to be not quite so exceptional in Japan as one might hope of a bona fide nation under the rule of law.

    #67 – Are you relieved now you got that off your chest? Good good!

  • AbleBodySeaman

    Sorry Albert lets try again.

    “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”

    He damaged the ship to gain entry, there we have violence. He requested money, there we have private ends. Ergo Bethune=pirate.

    And Japan isn’t circumventing any laws. Also it seems that Japan plan on charging him under Japanese Maritime law and not the UN LOS anyway.

  • Albert Bakker

    We can repeat this ad infinitum and never get anywhere. I’ll let others decide which is the more reasonable point of view. Sure you can pick some of the facts and then stretch, twist and bend them until they fit the definition. I can’t see however what that should prove other than that you first decide upon your conclusion (he’s a pirate) and then fit the facts around it (let’s see what he did that could possibly be interpreted so that it fits the definition that makes him a pirate.)

    Piracy really is a serious business, not to be taken lightly and devalued and emptied of meaning through misuse for political ends.

  • AbleBodySeaman

    No I didn’t decide he was a pirate. I knew he violated numerous international laws and once he boarded the Japanese vessel that he was violating numerous Japanese laws, I didn’t care if he was a pirate because there are plenty of other laws he has violated that are much easier to prove and if Japan so desires will result in him spending many years in a Japanese prison. I mean why would they want to prosecute him under an international agreement? They would have all sorts of experts from around the world putting their two cents in and numerous other governments wanting to get involved. By charging him purely under Japanese laws, the Japanese are the only experts. And although other people and countries will still try and have their say, the Japanese can pretty much ignore them as they are the experts in the application and prosecution of their own laws.

    It was two Australian legal experts who showed that he is a pirate by definition. Prof. Rothwell, before the fact he damaged the vessels was know, said he wasn’t a pirate because he hadn’t and didn’t intend to cause any harm or damage; thus by Prof. Rothwells statements once it was shown that he did intend to and had actually caused damage he fell square in the definition. Prof. Klein said that his mistake was asking for money, private gain, making him a pirate.

    So you can repeat your belief as much as you want, but two legal experts, one of whom is a SSCS supporter, have defined him as a pirate. So unless you have better credentials than they do I think the issue is pretty well decided.

  • Albert Bakker

    Actually Prof. Rothwell said that Bethune boarding the Japanese vessel would “only be considered illegal if he had planned to harm the crew or jeopardise the safety of their ship.”

    (That is not a direct quote as I understand it but as reported by AP, The Guardian and several other news outlets.)

    Apparently no damage or injuries before the whalers changed their story:

    Prof. Klein disagrees with Prof. Rothwell in that they didn’t have any legal right to board the Japanese vessel. Only Prof. Klein mentions piracy. She indeed insinuated that asking for compensation was the thing that finally opened the possibility to make a legal case for piracy. I can’t for the love of god see how asking for compensation for sinking one’s ship can be construed as an “illegal act of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends.. ”

    Perhaps if they deliberately provoked the Japanese vessel to sink their boat in order to ask for compensation for sinking their boat.. or something like that.

    But anyway Prof. Klein definitely has the better credentials. So the only thing I can humbly say about that is that we’ll see.

  • Joan

    Albert Bakker @ #68. I very much believe that the actions of Captain Bethune do constitute piracy under the definition provided by the UN. UNCLOS Article 101 has been quoted dozens of times and I will not post Article 101 here in its entirety, you know where to find it. The Article states that an illegal act of violence or detention for private ends and directed on the high seas against another ship,or a person on that ship, fall under the definition of piracy. I agree with Professor Klein’s view that the actions prior to the actual boarding should be considered as components leading up to the boarding itself. Test the various components: Did Captain Bethune commit an illegal act of violence or detention? Yes, on several levels. Captain Bethune is shown, prior to the collision, attempting to prop foul the SM2…illegal detention (Attempted). Captain Bethune is shown firing glass bottles from a projectile launcher at the SM2…an act of violence. Captain Bethune violates UNCLOS Article 97 part 1, which states, ” In the event of a collision or any other incident of navigation concerning a ship on the high seas, involving the penal or disciplinary responsibility of the master or of any other person in the service of the ship, no penal or disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against such person except before the judicial or administrative authorities either of the flag State or of the State of which such person is a national.” and part 3,”No arrest or detention of the ship, even as a measure of investigation, shall be ordered by any authorities other than those of the flag State.”
    In attempting to arrest the Captain of the SM2 for the collision as stated in his arrest letter, Captain Bethune attempts to commit an act of illegal detention that is reserved to the flag state under Article 97. In attempting to prop foul the SM2 in order to facilitate his arrest attempt, Captain Bethune once again violates Article 97’s illegal detention of the ship. Did Captain Bethune commit these actions for private ends? Again, the answer is yes. Captain Bethune is not acting on behalf of a public or government entity, nor is he authorized to act in such a manner; in fact Article 97 prohibits him from attempting to arrest or detain on behalf of the ‘public’. He is therefore acting privately for his own purpose.
    Did Captain Bethune commit these actions on the high seas? Again, Yes.
    Did Captain Bethune direct these actions against another ship? Yes, he directed these actions against the SM2. Did he direct these actions against a person on that ship? Yes, he directed these actions against the Captain of the SM2.
    There is ample cause to find a charge of piracy, but I agree with a previous poster that the Japanese will not bother with this charge. When Captain Bethune improperly boarded a foreign flagged vessel, he became subject to the laws and prosecution of that flag state. The Japanese will be wise to keep it simple. Mr Bakker, you are right in one sense; the charges will have nothing to do with whaling issues and the case should not provide a platform for Mr Watson to make it about whaling. It will instead be a simple case of a violation of Japanese law committed on Japanese territory and tried in a Japanese court.

  • Dr. Shanti

    Animux has stated:

    Animux: What’s the matter? Can’t handle the truth?

    Shanti: Yes, I can handle the truth. I can handle the truth of thinking for myself and not being a mindless idiot, cutting and pasting from every site without doing any real research, like you have.

    Animux: Once again you resort to emotional and irrational statements proving you are indeed a pro-whaling ideologue and not objective.

    Shanti: How many times do I have to state that I am anti-whaling? The simple truth, which you happen to conveniently forget, is that I disagree with the Sea Shepherd tactics, and that is what I oppose. Are you so completely mentally deficient that you are incapable of understanding this? Or, has Paul Watson’s anti-Greenpeace rhetoric convinced you that anyone who opposes Sea Shepherd must be for whaling? Like it or not, that’s what he has said many times.

    For the record, I am anti-whaling. That having been said, that doesn’t mean that I agree with the tactics being used in the Southern ocean to stop it. According to Animux, if you don’t like what the Sea Shepherds are doing, then you are a “pro-whaling ideologue”.

    AlbertBaker: Are there no real arguments to state your case?

    Shanti: I’ll once again state the facts below. And by the way, why do you put so much stock in a man who has openly stated that “If you do not know an answer, a fact, or a statistic, then simply follow the example of an American President and do as Ronald Reagan did—make it up on the spot and deliver the information confidently and without hesitation”. How is this OK with you? You can ignore the rest of this – but I challenge you to answer that one.

    Fact: The Ady Gil was filmed only moments before the collision dragging a prop fouler to stop the whaling ship. They were also utilizing a blinding laser, which they were obviously having trouble using.

    Fact: The SM2 did veer towards the Ady Gil, but was not on a collision course.

    Fact: The Ady Gil THRUSTED FORWARD at the last moment, causing the collision. See the video – look for the increased wake behind the thrusters just before the hit.

    Fact: Paul Watson immediately issues a statement saying that the Gil was stationary at the time of the collision, which it was clearly not. Having the clutch disengaged would not account for the wake seen behind the thrusters.

    Fact: Paul Watson changes his story and says now that the Gil was going backwards to avoid the collision. I guess the physics in Bizarro World are different than ours.

    Fact: Every expert in maritime physics that has seen this video faults the Gil for the collision as it was clear that it engaged forward thrust. It had been determined that if the Gil had not made this maneuver, there would have been no collision.

    Fact: The Sea Shepherd tactics will NEVER end whaling, and have actually turned anti-whaling people against them, like Greenpeace and me, not to mention the people who would have been the strongest allies – the many Japanese people who oppose whaling.

    Fact: AbleBody Seaman is absolutely correct in that neither Paul Watson nor Peter Bethune has actually ever certified as a Sea Captain. None of the Sea Shepherds have this qualification for the vessels that they in control of and they are the last to understand anything about maritime laws.

    Fact: The Japanese do operate within a loophole to continue their whaling activities. You may not like it, but right now, it’s legal.

    Fact: It IS illegal to board a foreign-flagged vessel without permission – despite what one singular professor at an Australian university says. I’d be more inclined to believe that without the bias that Australians show for this issue.

    These are incontrovertible facts – you don’t have to like it, it is what it is.

    Gabe – You may not like what I have to say, and you feel bad that Animux got trashed for being an obvious mindless idiot for entering an argument that he/she/it had no informational ammunition – only what they learned by seeing a few episodes of Whale Wars. So you don’t believe that there’s racism involved?

    Referring to the Japanese as “Japs” is racism, as the Sea Shepherds have said. This has been heard on the show.
    In Season 2, the whaling fleet was looking for a member that was overboard. Paul Watson joked about how maybe it was a case of “ritual suicide”, or harikari. This was on the show.
    Paul Watson just recently issued statements indicating that Japan is the same fascist state it was in 1943 because the Gil incident. This is an indictment of the entire Japanese race.

    You can argue that these are not racist – but the fact is that they are, whether you like them or not. Also, the fact that you still support this person and his group says a lot about your own personal character. You and Animux have certainly had your fill of the kool-aid. Say what you want about me, I couldn’t care less – but it’s clear that you and Animux have a certain aversion to the truth, that is, unless the truth is being spoon-fed to you by Paul Watson.

    For the last time, I oppose whaling and support the groups that do it legally, and without violence. That is my choice. You and Animux, and every other ignorant cretin that doesn’t understand that are free to believe what you want.

    Dr. Shanti

  • Dr. Shanti


    Back to the original topic at hand….

    Is Peter Bethune a Pirate? By some definitions, yes, and by some, no. It depends who you ask and what their experience is in this matter. Are the Somali’s who took the Maersk Alabama pirates? Absolutely. Is Peter Bethune like those individuals? No, he isn’t.

    I still hold to the contention that he will be held, perhaps all the way back to Japan to be questions, but in the end, he’ll be released with a slap on the wrist. He may not even be taken to Japan for that – he may be released long before. The whalers are not going to make a martyr out of him, regardless of what he did. He’s just going to have to live with the fact that his stupidity caused the collision and that no insurance company on earth who has seen the videos is ever going to side with him and pay out. Especially since he was already involved in a crash with another boat that resulted in the death of a Guatamalen fisherman. Yes, he was absolved of that because he made “arrangements” with the fisherman’s family – i.e. – payoff. However, the incident still lingers in the hearts and minds of any insurer!

    What many on this board seem to forget is that Australia, New Zealand, and Japan are very strong trade partners, and in the scope of world events, whaling is pretty much at the bottom of the pile of things to go over, despite the emotion that is attached to this issue. Not much is going to get in the way of that, even the petty, pathetic antics of Peter Bethune. Like a rash, he’ll fade away in time, and in the end, it will be a group like Greenpeace that finally ends whaling.

    Dr. Shanti

  • Dr. Shanti
  • AbleBodySeaman

    Dr. Shanti

    I enjoy reading you well thought out posts. It seems to be a common problem with the SSCS followers that they can’t understand how someone can be anti-SSCS tactics and also be anti-whaling. Personally I am neither pro nor anti, I don’t see where it affects me at all and I trust my government to do the research and ensure proper international controls, whether that is a total ban or regulated hunting. And yes I know trusting my government, or any government isn’t always the smartest way to go.

    There is a newish development.
    “Whaling Negotiators Propose End to Ban on Commercial Hunts”

    They propose letting the countries that currently whale under the research provision or under objection to the moratorium to whale commercially. No new countries would be allowed to whale and the quotas are supposed to be lowered, although no numbers have come out yet. This is to be discussed at a Small Working Group meeting March 2-4 in Florida, with a possible vote by the full IWC this summer.

    Here is a draft of the proposal.

  • Dr. Shanti


    Thanks, and to you as well! I am anti-whaling for the sake that I think there are other resources that can be hunted or farmed instead, but this is a cultural thing too, and not something that will be stopped by force.

    I found this interesting…

    Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said last week he will take Japan to the International Court of Justice this year unless it agrees to stop killing whales in Antarctica.

    This is pretty much a toothless threat, and everyone knows it. It was meant to quell the small amount of Australians who are protesting.

    I saw a similar article here…..

    This was an interesting quote…..

    Australian, American, Icelandic, and Japanese negotiators declined to reveal their position on the proposal. A number of news organizations, including the Sydney Morning Herald and Japan Today, point to sources that indicate that New Zealand and the United States both support lifting the whaling ban. Repealing the ban would invalidate the argument used by activists of the Sea Shepherd organization to justify the sabotage of whaling efforts in the Antarctic Ocean. Former Japanese Whaling Commissioner Masayuki Komatsu is declaring a preemptive victory against Sea Shepherd, going as far as to say that their presence in the Antarctic at this point is primarily to make Sea Shepherd’s “final” season at sea as costly as possible, and that whaling has become secondary.

    I love the fact that the whaling fleet at this point doesn’t care about whale quotas – they’re just dragging the Sea Shepherds all around for the sheer nuisance of it now, and they bought right into it.

    Also interestingly enough, the city of Broome in Australia issued an apology to the people of Japan, specifically the sister city of Taiji for breaking the sister-city designation over Taiji’s culling of dolphins. Broome had re-thought it out and agreed that it is in the interest of greater good to continue to maintain good relations with a strong trade ally. I understand that everyone loves dolphins, they are cute, intelligent creatures. But so are kangaroos – and Australians don’t seem to mind killing them for the fun of it. Nor do they mind treating the aborigines like garbage, which they still do to this day. They want all the attention on whales to keep their own dirty heritage from oozing to the surface, and they know it. Let Terry and Bindi campaign for aboriginal rights and clean up their own country before criticizing any others. And by the way, the Southern ocean is not Australian territory! It’s what every other nation on the planet refers to as “International Waters”. Only the Australians say that it belongs to them. Wrong. Funny thing – Steve Irwin loved snakes too – but I don’t see Terry Irwin railing against the HUGE slaughter-for-fun of countless thousands of rattlesnakes every year in Texas. Where’s the outrage there, Terry??? That, my friends, is called “Hypocrisy”.

    As I have stated many times, the Sea Shepherds have actually succeeded… at uniting all of Japan. There were many Geenpeace and other anti-whaling supporters who are now supporting the whalers because they don’t agree with the tactics and racist rhetoric use by the Sea Shepherds. Paul Watson has said that after whaling season ends, he is off to the Med to stop the Bluefin Tuna fishing. Why that fish? Because they export it to – wait for it – Japan!

    There are whales that are injured and killed EVERY DAY off the Eastern US by fishing nets and boat collisions, but Paul Watson doesn’t care about those.

    There are whales being affected by US Navy sonar testing in the pacific, but Paul Watson doesn’t care about those. He’s got some clear hatred for Japan as a people and his next target is proof of that.

    Animux, as confused as he/she/it is, has mentioned the “Tokyo Two” being held by the tyrannical Japanese government for trying to expose the whale meat black market. Well, it is true that that they are being held, but the charges are trespassing and theft, which are actual crimes. If you thought your neighbor was selling stolen goods, and you broke into his house to bring the merchandise to the police – guess who would be arrested? That’s right – it would be you. Wanting to do something good absolutely does not give you the right to become a vigilante. There are legal ways of following the money and getting it done. Is it as dramatic as the costumed superhero approach? No, but it will stick in court. They acted stupidly and deserved to be prosecuted. He/she should learn to research before the whole cut/paste thing.

    I am waiting here for Animux, or one of the two or three other mindless individuals who either can’t read, or simply don’t possess the capacity for coherent thought processing to come back with how I am still a “pro-whaling ideologue”. Just another sad example of tiny minds, attacking what they can’t understand.

    Dr. Shanti

  • tken


    I truly hope you’re belief that Japan will let Pete Bethune off with little more than a hand slap is incorrect. The reason I feel this way is because of a statement Prof. Natalie Klein made in her opinion letter to the Australian, and I quote: “Anyone who intentionally facilitates an act of piracy is also considered a pirate under international law. This affects all the Sea Shepherd members chasing the whalers.”

    I’m afraid the only way to stop this maniac from endangering the lives of seafarers who’s opinions differ from his and the naive children he charms into crewing his boats will be to convict him of piracy, confiscate his vessels and strip his organization of it’s non-profit

    I cannot for the life of me understand how the Nations of the Free World have allowed this behavior to continue for as long as it has.

  • AbleBodySeaman

    Interesting article I found earlier today.

    ‘”Former Japanese Whaling Commissioner Masayuki Komatsu is declaring a preemptive victory against Sea Shepherd, going as far as to say that their presence in the Antarctic at this point is primarily to make Sea Shepherd’s “final” season at sea as costly as possible, and that whaling has become secondary.

    The Japanese government has promised severe prosecution for a Sea Shepherd activist who was apprehended after breaking into a Japanese whaling boat, and maintains the position that Sea Shepherd’s actions may have done more harm to their cause than good by indirectly causing the repeal of the whaling ban. The IWC will meet in Florida on March 3rd to decide if and when the commercial whaling ban will be repealed.”‘

    If the Japanese are as sure as they sound about the proposal for commercial hunting passing, then they don’t have to worry as much about making Pete Bethune a martyr and may decide to throw the book at him. Or they could be saying those things to spin-up Paul Watson hoping it make shim do something stupid, well something stupider than normal.

  • Dr. Shanti


    I certainly hope I’m wrong about that too. Remember when the Sea Shepherds did that before with those two guys (whose names escape me)? They talked about taking them back to Japan for prosecution but in the end, they were let go. The whalers did not want to give the Sea Shepherds their martyrs as they had wanted, and it may be the same thing here. I also recall that after the whalers held them, as was their right to do with intruders, Paul Watson issued multiple statements saying that Japan was holding them “hostage”, which was the most ridiculous thing I ever heard.

    Given the surge of actual piracy on the seas nowadays, the attitude towards this kind of thing is different now than, say, 10 years ago. Thanks to the Somali’s, piracy is now something being acknowledged and openly discussed at every level, and the seriousness of anyone invading another ship on the sea cannot be understated, regardless of the reason.

    Personally, I understand that Peter Bethune wanted to make a statement, and that he knew full well that he was never going to do something as silly as a “citizen’s arrest” on the captain of the Shonan Maru. He wants to be a martyr and take the issue of whaling to the world stage. He would risk getting prosecuted for piracy to do this, and it will be interesting to see how this gets played out. I will also be paying close attention to see if the IWC repeals the whaling ban. If they do, the quotas will be smaller, but rest assured they will meet them, as will the Norwegians, the Russians, and the Icelandic whalers. Also rest assured, Paul Watson will not care about those because he is focused on the Japanese right now.

    I would have more respect for the Sea Shepherds had they not been hypocrites in the truest sense of the word. They really lost me when Paul Watson received word that a Japanese sailor was overboard and the first thing he does is to joke about whether or not the sailor committed “harikari”. While in the end, they did offer their help, they actually had a debate on board first as to whether or not to carry out an attack on the ship that was searching for the lost sailor. There shouldn’t have been any joking about it or debate – and because there was, the Sea Shepherds demonstrated their contempt for the Japanese people.

    If the Togolese Republic actually has, or is in the process of de-flagging the Bob Barker, then it’s one of the smartest things I have seen done in a long while. It’s interesting that Paul Watson has already condemned the entire nation of Togo, saying the following on the Sea Shepherd site:

    “We did expect to lose the flag because Togo is one of Japan’s puppet nations selling their vote to the Japanese at the International Whaling Commission. We registered the ship purposely in Togo for the purpose of exposing the Japanese imperialistic relationship to Togo. We got the flag from Togo the same way that Japan got Togo’s vote.”

    Boy, that’s a real way to entice other nations to offer their flags to the Bob Barker!!

    Actually, I came across this in another blog, and it’s pretty much dead-on-balls accurate….

    SSCS is trapped in a radicalized negative Möbius loop. Failure, repeat, failure, repeat and I see no end to it as long as the radicals control the direction. They literally see what they want to and nothing more. Throwing good money after bad results will not help them come back to the center where they can start being effective.

    Dr. Shanti

  • Not a Pirate

    Pirates get shot in the head by Marines before they even get close to the boat. Childlike morons with huge egos and antics to match get tolerated over and over again until they actually board the ship and then they finally get arrested and handled with kid gloves and have to sit in the corner until they are turned over to Australia or thankfully actually charged. This guy is pathetic, as in any fool who has anything to do with the Sea Shepards and their completely incompetent master.

  • blue23

    This man broke the law. He must go to jail, no nation can let him get away with this act of being an outlaw, as then they will have to let more dangerous brigands to board other more valuable ships. They will be duty bound to do so. He is an outlaw, one that needs to be made an example of, to show his lawless behavior will be met with a jail cell.

  • Imforthewhales

    Looks like DD palmer and his little mate Dr Shanti are still on the payroll of Ginza Glen Inwood. About time for a raise i think? Oh and Dr Shanti, well done on getting your article published in the Japan Times. Perhaps we had better send them the link of this so that the Japanese know who is penning all those silly articles you keep dreaming up? Lol.

    I see that the membership for the Ocean Guardian site has shot up 150 per cent as a result.

  • Mr T

    Dr Shanti, please refrain from using the prefix “Dr”, you are not a Dr. Of anything.
    Except Rubbish.

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  • seasheperdsrule

    the crash as terable i almost cry ed and i wish petes family good luck with the trials

  • seasheperdsrule

    and second why would the Japanese need a factory ship if they are doing resurch i meen rely

  • seasheperdsrule

    and no he is not a pirate because he was giving an arrest order to the skipper of the Japanese whaling vessel

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