The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice: Paul Watson plans to stay at sea to avoid arrest & Senator Letelier working towards a solution

Paul Watson plans to stay at sea to avoid arrest

The environmentalist says he plans to return to Sea Shepherd’s ships, where he can evade police arrest in international waters

Paul Watson, founder and President of environmental group Sea Shepherd Conservation

Paul Watson, founder and President of the animal rights and environmental group Sea Shepherd Conservation. Photograph: Markus Schreiber/AP

Paul Watson, the fugitive head of international marine activism group Sea Shepherd who is wanted by the police on three continents, plans to avoid arrest by staying at sea as long as possible.

In an exclusive comment piece for the Guardian, the Canadian-born environmentalist who skipped bail in Germany in July, gives no clue to where he is except that he is in a “safe haven”. He says he plans “to return to his ships”.

Sea Shepherd has a fleet of four ships, all of which are thought to be heading for Australia and the Antarctic ocean ahead of the Japanese whale hunting season that Sea Shepherd attempts to disrupt every year.

Maritime law is complex but legal experts say that Watson is likely to be able to evade most police forces indefinitely if he remains in international waters.

“The question now is what should I do from the safe haven I currently occupy?” says Watson. “There is only one answer. I have no choice but to continue to serve my clients, the whales. I can do that far better at the helm of the Steve Irwin commanding the Sea Shepherd fleet … than I can defending myself from bogus charges by Japan.

“If I can return to my ships, I will. If not, my captains and their crews will return without me to once more defend the whales in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary.”

Watson disappeared after being jailed in Germany and later bailed in the face of allegations by Costa Rica – strongly denied by Watson – that he endangered the lives of some of its shark finners back in 2002.

Watson says that he strongly suspects Costa Rica is working with Japan to have him extradited to Japan on charges that he ordered a crew member to board a Japanese whaling ship. Japan has long declared him an eco-terrorist following annual skirmishes between its whaling fleet and Sea Shepherd in the Antarctic.

In his article for the Guardian, Watson says he fled Germany after a tip-off by a source in the German Ministry of Justice that an extradition request by Japan to Germany to hand him over had been granted. “I had no choice but to leave Germany. If not, I would now be in a cell in Japan.”

“I have never suffered under any delusion that saving the whales in the Antarctic sanctuary would be easy, but the one thing I am certain of is that I and my passionate crew of international volunteers will never quit defending life in the seas from poachers no matter what consequences we must endure to do so,” he writes.

Source: The Guardian

I must serve my clients, the whales

I can do that far better commanding the Sea Shepherd fleet than I can defending myself from bogus charges by Japan

Woman supporter of Paul Watson, dons Sea Shepherd tattoo,

A woman with a Sea Shepherd tattoo, the organisation of marine conservationist Paul Watson (not pictured). Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Each year for the last eight years, I have successfully led high-profile campaigns out of Australia to intervene against the shadowy operations of the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary.

These have been extremely dangerous operations in the hostile waters off Antarctica, against a whaling fleet backed by one of the world’s most economically powerful nations.

During this time our ships and crew have been shot at, rammed, one of them sliced in two and destroyed by a Japanese security vessel. At the same time, our tactics have been strategically designed to not cause injury or property damage and to stay within the boundaries of the law.

Most importantly, every Sea Shepherd action has been thoroughly documented for the Animal Planet show, Whale Wars. Although this provides us with the evidence to defend ourselves against bogus accusations, it has also been a source of embarrassment for the Japanese government.

We have demonstrated that their “research” whaling is nothing more than a mask for commercial operations.

The Japanese insist that their shady whaling operations are legal. Australia and many other nations disagree. My position is that they should not be killing whales in a whale sanctuary.

Through cutting kill quotas by blocking their lethal operations, we have reduced kill numbers dramatically, saving more than 4,000 whales and costing the whalers their profits.

Our strategy of blocking the whaling fleet has driven this commercial whaling operation into substantial debt. They have continued to operate only because of massive government subsidies.

As a result, in September of 2011, the Japanese prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, said that this was no longer about whaling but about not surrendering to Sea Shepherd, and in October, the government allocated £19m from the Tsunami relief fund to the Japanese Fishery Agency for the purpose of stopping Sea Shepherd interventions.

They immediately filed a lawsuit in the United States seeking a preliminary injunction to stop our ships from returning to the Southern Ocean. The injunction failed and the most recent Sea Shepherd campaign prevented the whalers from taking 74% of their kill quota.

Japan had made a deal with a former crewmember after he was arrested for boarding the Japanese registered Shonan Maru #2, the ship that destroyed our trimaran. This man was taken back to Japan and received a suspended sentence for trespassing in return for accusing me of ordering him to board the ship. The Whale Wars episode where this happens clearly shows me advising him not to board the Japanese vessel.

The Japanese captain refused to co-operate with the Australian and New Zealand investigation into the sinking of the Sea Shepherd vessel and suffered no consequences for destroying the $1.5m boat. Yet based on false accusations, Japan is demanding my arrest. Why?

Because they have the influence to do so and we do not have the financial resources and political power to have the Japanese captain charged.

On 8 December 2011, Costa Rican president, Laura Chinchilla, travelled to Japan and met with Noda. At around the same time, Costa Rica made a request to Interpol for my extradition for an incident in April 2002 when Sea Shepherd had stopped an illegal Costa Rican shark-finning operation in Guatemalan waters. We did so with permission of the Guatemalan government and without injuring any of the poachers.

Interpol had dismissed that decade-belated request, but Germany decided to detain me nonetheless. I was then tipped off from a source in the German Ministry of Justice that Japan’s request to Germany to hand me over had been granted. I had no choice but to leave Germany.

If not, I would now be in a cell in Japan.

The question now is what should I do from the safe haven I currently occupy?

There is only one answer. I have no choice but to continue to serve my clients, the whales. I can do that far better at the helm of the Steve Irwin commanding the Sea Shepherd fleet of four ships, aircraft and my intrepid crews than I can defending myself from bogus charges by Japan.

If I can return to my ships, I will. If not, my captains and their crews will return without me to once more defend the whales in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary.

I have never suffered under any delusion that saving the whales in the Antarctic sanctuary would be easy, but the one thing I am certain of is that I and my passionate crew of international volunteers will never quit defending life in the seas from poachers no matter what consequences we must endure to do so.

Source: The Guardian

SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer. 

Editorial: SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras

Selvavidasinfronteras.wordpress.com

Editorial Committee

David Dunham

Arno Ambrosius

Gustavo López Ospina

Mariana Almeida

Pieter Jan Brouwer

Assistant: Emilia Romero

The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice is associated with the International Environmental Mission, a grass roots citizens movement created by Chilean Senator Juan Pablo Letelier.

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~ by FSVSF Admin on 31 August, 2012.

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