Japanese reports say the country's coast guard has obtained an arrest warrant for the leader of the Sea Shepherd environmentalist group for interfering with Japan's annual whale hunt.
Kyodo News agency reported today that the arrest warrant was for Paul Watson, founder and president of Sea Shepherd, on suspicion of assault and obstruction of business.
Watson, a Canadian, captains one of the Sea Shepherd ships that disrupts Japan's annual whaling activities in the Antarctic.
Catching Watson may prove problematic, but if the Japanese can take him into custody, getting a conviction should be a doddle. Watson will be convicted by his very own words - statements like:
Captain Paul Watson responded to the Canadian Naval spokesperson at the time by saying:
“Since World War II, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has boarded more ships, rammed more ships, engaged in more high seas confrontations and sunk more ships than the Canadian Navy. They are hardly in a position to presume to judge what we are competent or capable of doing.”
"There's nothing wrong with being a terrorist as long as you win."
"We should never feel like we're going too far in breaking the law, because whatever laws you break to liberate animals or to protect the environment are very insignificant."
"That fact is that we live in an extremely violent culture, and we all justify violence if it's for what we believe in ."
- Paul Watson, speaking at the Animal Rights 2002 convention.
- "Guilty, guilty, guilty and proud of it!" - Paul Waton, July 3, 2009 on the conviction of two Sea Shepherd crew in Canada for illegal interference with the seal hunt.
People say I manipulate the media,' says Watson, who speaks calmly with an undertone of anger and lofty scorn for anyone who doubts or opposes him. 'Well, duh. We live in a media culture so why on earth wouldn't I? What we do is provide the media with the kind of stories they can't resist, even if they really try, and this is how we bring attention to what's happening to the whales, the seals, the sharks and the other marine conservation campaigns we're involved in. The oceans are dying in our lifetime and it's not for want of laws and regulations. The problem is enforcement. Governments are not enforcing the laws, so we have to.'
And therein lies the truth for Sea Shepherd; that the end justifies the means. Of course the fact that Sea Shepherd has arbitarilly selected what "the end" is is largely irrelevant. We're sure that Captain Paul Watson would never want the truth to get in the way of a good story!
PS - anyone heard anything about Pete the (alleged) Pirate Bethune lately?