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Anti-whaling activist Watson tells U.S. court: 'We're not pirates'

75 Comments
By GENE JOHNSON

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Yes you are. You may dress it up in the niceties of conservation. Still a pirate.

3 ( +26 / -23 )

"We’re not pirates. ... Protesting against illegal activity is not piracy.”

Watson is correct- protesting is not piracy. But deciding what is legal or not and conducting acts of violence at sea is piracy.

5 ( +29 / -24 )

If he's not a pirate, how does he propose getting out of JT's Crime section?

4 ( +15 / -11 )

finally a balanced article on the subject. i was tired of reading watson being described as an eco-warrior from AFP.

6 ( +17 / -11 )

Sea Shepherd are hero's. Whale killers are simple minded terrorists.

-6 ( +24 / -28 )

Wasn't Paul Watson on the ships durning the 2012/2013 season? Hardly supports the theory that there was no collusion between the American and Australian SS.

He said he does not believe the U.S. courts have jurisdiction over international waters

International Waters... Quite a few SS supporters on here have questioned that before. I'm also sure that the SS does not have jurisdiction over international waters. The SS are in trouble.

6 ( +16 / -10 )

He looks like that guy from the Doobie Brothers

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

They are clearly pirates but financed by the poor victims like the retired elder people.

-3 ( +17 / -20 )

"A fugitive activist known for attacking Japanese whaling vessels off Antarctica...."

doesn't like being called a pirate. How quaint. It doesn't matter if Watson or his eco-terrorist SS believe they should be called pirates or not. It's the FBI's impression that the eco-terrorist SS are eco-terrorists and it 's the judge's ruling that the eco-terrorist SS acted like pirates when they attacked the whalers with glass bottles of acid, rammed other ships, and sank 10 fishing vessels.

Apparently the truth hurts - the eco-terrorist SS fund raising and tax donation status.

Doesn't the judge have the option of increasing the $100,000 fpenalty for each of the 10 documented eco-terrorist violations?

0 ( +21 / -21 )

I'm against the killing of whales but Watson is as phony as a three dollar bill.

14 ( +30 / -16 )

If the court rules that the Sea Shepard are pirates, they they should act like pirates and sink the whalers next time. That what Capt. Nemo would do.

2 ( +22 / -20 )

"Watson said he didn’t believe he could have ensured compliance with the order. The captains of the ships were likely to intervene if they believed a whale’s life was at stake, he said."

Good luck getting any serious person to believe that, unless these captains are all a bunch of mentally unstable lunatics. But people like that don't just wind up sailing boats in the Southern Ocean now do they.

Irrespective of one's view on whaling, I for one can't understand what his strategy is at this trial, other than to perhaps seek a good publicity opportunity. His rich mates of the 1% and Hollywood world can pay any of these fines easily.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Obviously mis-reported quote. It should have read: "We are answering to our clients, which is....the Discovery channel".

8 ( +17 / -9 )

The hate that some of you people have for him is amazing. I know that his tactics are questionable but he is hardly Osama Bin Laden.

0 ( +20 / -20 )

You don't want to be called pirates? Okay. How about idiots? Is that better?

7 ( +23 / -16 )

The hate that some of you people have for him is amazing

No, it isn't amazing. I hate the idea of whaling and I believe eating whale meat is a danger to human health, especially for children. However, he's an obvious phony who has made a personal fortune out of whaling. While Sea Shepherd, and the bunch of adventurists on board, is in action (for the TV cameras of course) , Japan will never give up whaling. This guy has managed to change a moribund issue into a matter of national pride. Consequently, their antics have turned public opinion here in Japan (and elsewhere) from anti-whaling to anti-Sea Shepherd. Ultimately, he has actually become detrimental to the cause of the whales in much the same way as any militant activists often ruin their causes.

9 ( +23 / -14 )

Ultimately, he has actually become detrimental to the cause of the whales in much the same way as any militant activists often ruin their causes.

Exactly. There are a LOT of people who oppose whaling and who dislike the tactics of the Sea Shepard. Watson has not obeyed the primary law of the sea, which is not to put people's lives at risk, and yet he has done so time and time again. I don't know if he is a pirate because I don't know the legal definition of piracy, but he has certainly broken international law.

9 ( +19 / -10 )

And Nelson Madella was and is a terrorist

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I know that his tactics are questionable

They aren't questionable They are illegal under any court If I threw glass bottles at you I would go to prison. He's not bin Laden but he uses violence in order to meet his aims And that is why he is so unpopular.

7 ( +22 / -15 )

Saying you're not a pirate is like saying you're not a crack whore: If you have to explain it away, you're probably in the wrong line of work regardless.

6 ( +19 / -13 )

Trying to protect an endaged species is Piracy - isn't that mislabeling? Whoops can't say that it might go againt a notion of Horner that is no existent .

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

He looks like he's going to a funeral (his own maybe)

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Trying to protect an endaged species is Piracy - isn't that mislabeling?

Claiming that the Minke is endangered is mislabeling

8 ( +17 / -9 )

Pirate: any plunderer, predator, etc.

So, the Japanese travel the other end of the earth to hunt whales with grenaded harpoons in a whale sanctuary they choose to ignore and take from a population of whales they had no hand in creating and do it under the false pretense of research? Please check the meaning of 'pirate' above. I think this is another Japanese mislabeling scandal!

4 ( +20 / -16 )

Say what you want about Sea Shepherd but they're effective. The mighty Japanese whaling fleet limped home last season with its tail between its legs and less than a third of its quota because of the direct interference of these 'pirates'. Many people talk about saving whales, Sea Shepherd actually does it.

1 ( +18 / -17 )

Budgie.

Very effective they haven't stopped the whaling and turned many supporters and sponsors against them.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

Will he be adding "We're not pirates" to the big skull and crossbone flags then? Maybe in a hard-to-read disclaimer at the bottom.

From the the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals: "When you ram ships; hurl glass containers of acid; drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate, no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be."

7 ( +16 / -9 )

Pirate: any plunderer, predator, etc.

Also the name given to Paul Watson by the judge in the 9th court last year. A fact that you KNOW all too well. But like all SS members you decide to be economical with the truth.

Now THAT is mislabeling.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

Go Paul and the SS Crew!

-9 ( +11 / -20 )

He IS a pirate, an attention whore, a very well-documented fraudster, and a poor sailor who frequently put his own crews (who often weren't trained sailors, at all) at physical risk. Greenpeace, of all groups, tossed his self-promoting keister out years ago.

He has been the single biggest detriment to the anti-whaling movement in the modern era. Toss him to the whales.

4 ( +16 / -12 )

I don't care for him much either but judging by the tone of some of the posters you would think he was a terrorist, pedophile, nazi racist all rolled into one. Relax he is having a scrap with some Japanese whalers who aren't the nicest people either.

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

So, the Japanese travel the other end of the earth to hunt whales

All fishing countries travel to the ends of the earth to fish. The "whale sanctuary" contravenes Arctic Treaties and exists only in fancy and not in fact.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

It's only tangentially related, but I've thought the name of the group is somewhat curious. You know what shepherds do?

They manage livestock.

Think about it for more than two seconds... :-P

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I agree, he's not a pirate. As far as I know he isn't stealing and plundering from the Japanese.

Since he is intent on the wanton destruction of other people's property, and the complete disregard of their safety though, he's still a criminal. The much debated term "eco terrorist" is much more fitting.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

Deny any label you like, you Watson are a terrorist who acts illegally, even if you disagree with your opponent or they act illegally as you claim there is no need for you to use terror tactics on them, High seas is no place for theatrics and illegal activities.

You and that other dick head the Japanese threw in the slammer here need a lesson in reality.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

He is going agains blatant piracy " scientific research" that Japanese systematically perform in international waters.. mind you not Japanese territory , personally glad some one is there to stop this ridiculous totaly rigged "research"

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

I'm perfectly happy for him to continue his activities in the Southern Ocean for as long as it takes.

No problem with it whatsoever, given the circumstances.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

He also argued in court Wednesday that although the injunction ordered the protesters to keep 500 yards from the whalers, "it didn't say anything about whether the Japanese whaling vessels could come within 500 yards of us."

Ha. Still playing that card I see. Travel thousands of kilometres to chase and harass them, and then it's "oh no it was them who approached us."

SS are a bunch of prejudiced emotional misfits who try to apply or ignore laws depending on their convenience. And they will make one fat lie after another to do it. Oh it wasn't us, it was Sea Shepherd Australia. Sure we spent $2.5 million on fuel and crew, but it's got nothing to do with us. Sure eco-terrorist Watson was even on one of the protest vessels, but he was just an observer.

SS = Sinking Ship.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

SS claimed they could end whaling decades ago so far not achieved.

Results count not Promises and that includes results without breaking the laws.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Go SS go!!

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

Japan should tred very carefully since there are alot on environmental conscious people in the US today. If Japan tries to push blatant lie of "scientific research" which in truth is plain "consumption" it could have serious consequences. Conservationalists can boycott Japanese products in US which will have serious repercussion to Japanese economy. Japan's economy is still fragile and very dependent on US....they should think twice before jumping into any action.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

From the immense size and complexity of their brains whales are the most intelligent species on our planet. Instead of ignorantly slaughtering them for food, we should be attempting to communicate with whales to learn from them and to form an alliance with them for the highest purpose of life on Mother Earth.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Results count not Promises and that includes results without breaking the laws...

The result is that Watson is so rich that he's part of the 1%. If he was serious about protecting whales he would be doing more to change public opinion in Japan and Norway. Instead he goes off on an expensive mission of questionable legal basis and claims to be helping. Sounds more like an attention getting publicity stunt to me.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

You can call Sea Shepherds what ever you want but they are the only organization today trying to prevent extinctions of animals in our Seas. Of course people who hate and are against Sea Shepherds are going to make all kinds of accusations despite their own illegal manipulation of the law but this fight is not going away until Japan is permanently prohibited to hunt whales for good.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

You can call Sea Shepherds what ever you want but they are the only organization today trying to prevent extinctions of animals in our Seas

It is people like you who continually ignore facts and stick with your emotional pleas and slogans. The Japanese are not taking threatened species and there are literally hundreds of thousands of those they do take. Note that the annual target is around just 1,000. But that is just too much isn't it? Ohh whales are just so majestic and clever and better.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

More like mafia of the sea!!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Hope this Watson character gets a long jail sentence for breaking the law, end of.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

You can call Sea Shepherds what ever you want but they are the only organization today trying to prevent extinctions of animals in our Seas.

Apart from Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, The IWC, UN, etc etc

A bit like the scene from Monty Python where they ask 'What have the Romans ever done for us?', isn't it?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Good on you Watson. Japan would catch, kill, and eat every whale in the ocean without resistance from Watsons's ships. Someone needs to stick up for the whales and in this case Japan's 'peace sign', 'we care about the nature' expression is garbage.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Daijoboots

It is people like you who continually ignore facts and stick with your emotional pleas and slogans. The Japanese are not taking threatened species and there are literally hundreds of thousands of those they do take

Then let the International community decide it's time to lift the whaling moratorium and start harvesting them again. I'm sure there are other countries that would also like to participate in that, but don't because of the Moratorium. Why is Japan special?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Unfortunately, pro-whaling antagonists don't like Paul Watson very much and in order to demonize him, they compare environmental activists -- who have never killed anyone, never taken anyone hostage, and never beaten anyone up for an environmental cause -- to violent terrorists who have purposely targeted people for murder.

The sad reality is, environmentalists are routinely murdered all over the world for merely speaking out, or acting to protect wildlife and habitat. Their killers are criminal poachers, smugglers, industry thugs, and sometimes even corrupt military and police.

You won't see those critics of Watson calling out the murderers of non-violent activists as terrorists. Why? Because they don't care. They'd simply rather see governments abuse power to suppress eco-protesters.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Unfortunately, pro-whaling antagonists don't like Paul Watson very much

What's not been reported on here is that 'Sitting in the back of the courtroom as Watson testified was Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Friedman, a criminal supervisor in the Seattle U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Friedman would say only that he was interested in hearing Watson’s testimony.'

It seems it's not just pro-whalers who don't like Paul Watson.

Oh and for the record, there are a heck of a lot of anti whaling supporters who dislike Paul Watson. Greenpeace for a start.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The U.S. government officially stands against Japan's ongoing whaling and has since the 1980s. In fact, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan enacted economic sanctions against Japan, over the very same controversial whaling in the Southern Ocean, according to U.S. domestic law.

The whaling has been certified to be 'purposely diminishing the effectiveness of international conservation programs' by multiple U.S. Secretaries of Commerce making it an offense under current U.S. law, punishable by economic sanctions.

So, quite literally, Japan's government sponsored whale poaching operation has come to the United States and demanded the courts suppress protest against whaling that is officially condemned by the U.S. government and U.S. law.

Amazingly, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is frequently overturned by the Supreme Court of the U.S., has attempted to redefine international anti-piracy law, to criminalize eco-activists, in favor of Japan's whaling which is officially condemned by the USA.

Watson, and Sea Shepherd USA, must deal with the ongoing legal drudgery. Sea Shepherd Australia is a foreign organization -- the ships involved are not U.S. flagged vessels -- and the direct action taken by these foreign activists occurred in international waters -- in other words, outside of U.S. jurisdiction. Meanwhile, Japan's state funded whale poachers continue wasting even more tax money on an already internationally prohibited boondoggle entirely for the benefit of corrupt officials in Japan's government.

Furthermore, the Associated Press article is incorrect in stating the International Whaling Commission allows Japan to kill whales. In fact, the opposite is true.

The IWC has prohibited commercial whaling since 1986. Japan circumvents this prohibition by pretending to kill whales for scientific research. The IWC has repeatedly declared Japan's so-called 'research' to be unnecessary and flawed and has issued multiple official resolutions calling on Japan to stop killing whales. (IWC Resolution 2007-1, for example...)

Japan maintains it can kill as many whales as it likes under what its representatives argue is a loophole for science. However, other members of the IWC do not agree and Australia has even taken Japan to the International Court of Justice, accusing Japan of failing to adhere to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in good faith. The court has not yet returned with a decision on the case.

Considering Japan's long history of regulatory violations -- which includes exceeding quotas, ignoring size limits and species protections, hunting out of season and in off limits areas, and even hiring poachers in foreign countries to kill whales in secret (pirate whaling) -- it is dishonest to suggest that Japan is 'allowed' by the IWC to kill whales.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

AnimuXNov. 08, 2013 - 08:11AM JST The U.S. government officially stands against Japan's ongoing whaling and has since the 1980s

Your unnecessarily long post is irrelevant because the article is about charges of piracy. The court is not hearing arguments about whaling or anti-whaling either way. How the United states feels about whaling is a separate matter from how it feels about eco-terrorism and piracy.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Any person who is clearly sane would completely acknowledge the fact that Sea Shepherd are indeed not pirates.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

That's right. They use violence to achieve their means... so what does that make them?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Christopher SmithNov. 08, 2013 - 09:34AM JST Any person who is clearly sane would completely acknowledge the fact that Sea Shepherd are indeed not pirates.

Any person who is clearly sane who watches any of Sea Shepherd's own videos would completely acknowledge the fact that they are indeed pirates.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

judge Alex Kozinski .

"You don't need a peg leg or an eye patch. When you ram ships; hurl containers of acid; drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate, no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be."

Guess you think that the honorable judge is insane.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The judge forgot illegally boarding ships, etc.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Ah, I see the headline has been changed from 'fugitive' to activist. Smart move!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

It"S MENOV. 07, 2013 - 03:18PM JST

Very effective they haven't stopped the whaling and turned many supporters and sponsors against them.

That may be, yet they have reduced Japanese whaling by two thirds. That means two thirds more whales alive at the end of the season than there otherwise would have been. Hats off to 'em.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Budgie.

That is a claimed figure only, no data to back it up. Korea and Russia are also going to increase their catches but SS is silent about that. SS vs Russian whalers I see SS ships being sunk.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

billyshears - Obviously mis-reported quote. It should have read: "We are answering to our clients, which is....the Discovery channel".

Yes. the Discovery Channel is promoting Watson's violence in order to sell its advertising. The Discovery Channel and all of the people who support the well documented eco-terrorist actions of the SS are promoting violence as a means to their end. While Watson claims that whales are his client, I'm sure Watson's lawyers wish Watson would foucus on the current charges against him. Watson's continued lies and diatribe will only insure that the courts increase the penalties Watson and the eco-terrorist SS must pay. (The lawyers will get paid regardless.)

If Watson decides to run away from this court's judgement against him, as he did with the Canadian court's decision concerning the 2008 siezure of the eco-terrorist garbage scow Farley Mowat, the U.S. judicial system will track down and seize eco-terrorist SS assets in the U.S..

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Watson, and his Eco-terrorist most likely could have by now won their battle via the international court or through lobbying efforts if they would have concentrated all the many millions of donated dollars in that direction...Watson and Sea Sheppard are innit for fame and fortune, The heads of this (Not for Profit Organization????) have been using the Anti whaling issue as a means of fundraising to in rich themselves. Everyone could figure this out once they went public with the series "Whale Wars"....What a scam....I hope that the US finds a way to extradite the great white whale Watson and send his sorry carcass to Japan to face charges...This fool is an international criminal and fugitive from the law, The German and Costa-Rican courts will hopefully have the opportunity to prosecute this criminal too....Watson...You can run but you can not hide, I am pleased to see this criminal finally setting in a court room and answering for his crimes.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Everything depends on the eyes of the beholder. If you are one of those japanized foreigners, then you will label him a pirate. If you are a whale and nature lover, of course, he is a hero.

Remember, the poachers are pretty much a government sanctioned organization, so they have a much stronger influence in opinions and public relations campaign and can psychologize a lot o people into siding with their cause.

Is it worthy to kill these majestic creatures so we can satiate somebody's appetite.

So, Capt Watson is doing what he believes is the only way he can make Japanese reason because as long as they want something, they will be as stubborn as the WWII rulers who would not surrender. Keep up the good work. You got my salute.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I wouldn't call them pirates. Eco-terrorists yes, but not pirates.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

avigatorNov. 09, 2013 - 07:06AM JST So, Capt Watson is doing what he believes is the only way he can make Japanese reason because as long as they >want something, they will be as stubborn as the WWII rulers who would not surrender. Keep up the good work. You >got my salute.

Please explain how WWII is relevant to this issue.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

65 posts before someone displays the weakness of his argument by invoking Godwin's law.

In addition to being ant-vivisection and a vegetarian, the bloke-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned-on-pain-of-ridicule was also anti-smoking and a teetotaller. Your point being? That even unspeakable mass-murderers and warmongers on a historic scale get some things right?

The sad and telling point is that an 'appeal to animal welfare' should be considered bigotry.

Not saying that I agree with avigator; I'm what most people here would call a 'japanized foreigner', I love this country, and I'm emphatically not on the side of the whale killers. I look forward to the day Japan comes to its senses on this matter and Watson is able to go home and hang up his little bottles of smelly butter.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

. If you are a whale and nature lover, of course, he is a hero.

Have you read what Greenpeace have to say about him. Because I don't think you could say they were anything but whale and nature lovers. And yet they hate Watson. They aren't alone in that.

It's typical off SS supporters to try and make claims like that. There are many anti whalers who are also anti Watson.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Kudos to you Watson, stand up for what you believe in, you do not need a quota of 1000 whales a year for reasearch year after year, too much of a con job.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

" his little bottles of smelly butter."

Cleo, with all respect, have you seen how they handle those "little bottles of smelly butter" on the Whale Wars show? Tongs and thick rubber lab gloves to take them out of the boxes.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@papa "eco terrorist" well that term is incorrect also, as a terrorist normally tries to kill/exterminate another life, seems the whales are better fitting that title.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

wtfjapanNov. 13, 2013 - 03:54AM JST @papa "eco terrorist" well that term is incorrect also, as a terrorist normally tries to kill/exterminate another life, seems >the whales are better fitting that title.

SSCS supporters seem to be under the misguided impression that the term "eco-terrorist" is a word where anyone is free to choose it's meaning. This in both uneducated and incorrect. The word is is a law enforcement term and has a very specific meaning.

" The FBI defines eco-terrorism as the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent victims or property by an environmentally-oriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature."

http://www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/the-threat-of-eco-terrorism

The definition has nothing to do with whales or whaling one way or the other, and only applies to organizations such as SSCS et al. It is not the same as "terrorism" for political purposes.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It seems Paul Watson has taken the act of valuing a life to the highest form of criticism, acknowledgement, and acclaim. Without being muddled by politics and capitalist interests;- In and of itself, I admire this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Angela M. Kikuchi Kneale - It seems Paul Watson has taken the act of valuing a life to the highest form of criticism, acknowledgement, and acclaim. Without being muddled by politics and capitalist interests;- In and of itself, I admire this.

Watson and his eco-terrorist SS believe in resorting to violence to force others to do their bidding. Pro-violence supporters of the eco-terrorist SS believe that Watson's violent actions are a means to their ends. Why would you admire violence as a means to an end?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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