Aquaman Returns

By Keith Kloor | March 17, 2011 10:51 pm

I’m picturing a Navy Seal-turned environmental activist turned loose in a zany Carl Hiaasen plot. I don’t know much of Peter Bethune’s background, but he sure comes off here as one righteous bad ass.

Bethune’s new organisation is based on fledgling local chapters of volunteers around the world, plus a six-man mission team. But where campaigning fails, as a last resort, that team will take direct action.

“In extreme cases, we need to go and catch these people, document what they do,” he says. In the case of illegal fishing, Bethune says “I have no problem going in and sorting it. We will board and take control of a vessel”.

How would he do that? “I am not going to give away our tactics but it’s not hard and I have got a pretty special groups of lads – they are not a bunch of vegans.” What are their backgrounds? “You can use your imagination.”

  • Hannah

    “I am not going to give away our tactics but it’s not hard and I have got a pretty special groups of lads ““ they are not a bunch of vegans.” What are their backgrounds? “You can use your imagination.” Hmmmm, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles???

  • JohnB

    Hmmmm. Going armed with the intent to board and take control of vessels. Sounds like “Piracy” to me.

    I expect that he and/or his compatriots will get shot and Greenpeace will cry all the way to the media. So much for claims of “non voilence”.

  • Steven Sullivan

    It appears you are both neglecting to note he’s talking about illegal fishing.

  • JohnB

    So piracy is all right if you approve of the cause?

    I wasn’t ignoring the illegal fishing, I was pointing out what his methods are going to be. The only word that can be used to describe the act of civillians boarding and taking control of vessels is “piracy”.

    If he and his group are given legal authority to act by the nations whose waters they want to work in, then that is fine and I’ll back him.

    But acting without that legal authority makes him as much a pirate as those pricks around Somalia.

    Steven, your morals might be flexible enough to excuse criminal acts, but mine aren’t. I call a spade a spade.

  • Hannah

    Steven, you are not really saying that two “wrongs” makes for a “right” are you? and the “goal justifies the means” argument is always such a slippery slope”¦:o) the classic here of course being the “terrorist/torture” example.
    JohnB, couldn’t agree more. I recently went to a talk by Niall Ferguson (a historian) about how the West historically had developed six “killer applications” that the rest lacked: competition, science, democracy, medicine, consumerism and the Protestant work ethic. Interestingly, he highlighted the existence of law and of the law being followed as being a major factor in the West succeeding.


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About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


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