Quantcast
Connect with us

US, Japan discussed ‘action’ against anti-whaling groups, leaked cable reveals

Published

on

Japanese and American officials discussed taking action to weaken a prominent anti-whaling group, with Tokyo insisting that Sea Shepherd’s confrontations on the high seas actually hurt efforts to reduce whaling, U.S. diplomatic cables show.

The U.S. representative to the International Whaling Commission, Monica Medina, discussed revoking the U.S.-based conservation group’s tax exempt status during a meeting with senior officials from the Fisheries Agency of Japan in November 2009, according to the documents released by WikiLeaks on Monday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s yearly protest campaigns — which chase Japan’s whaling fleet in boats trying to disrupt the hunt by fouling fishing lines and throwing rancid butter at whalers — have drawn high-profile donors and volunteers, and spawned the popular Animal Planet series “Whale Wars.” In Japan, the harrassment is seen by some as foreign interferance in national affairs, making politicians wary of getting involved.

Action against Sea Shepherd would be a “major element” in achieving success at international negotiations on the number of whales killed each year, the cables cite the director general of Japan’s fisheries agency, Katsuhiro Machida, as saying.

Referring to Sea Shepherd, Medina said “she believes the USG (U.S. government) can demonstrate the group does not deserve tax exempt status based on their aggressive and harmful actions,” according the cables.

Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd, said Japan has previously pressured foreign governments to take action against the group, such as revoking the registration of its ships. He said the organization had last been audited about two years ago, which is before the exchanges detailed in the cables.

“We have had our tax status since 1981, and we have done nothing different since then to cause the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to change that,” he told The Associated Press by telephone from his ship.

ADVERTISEMENT

The diplomatic cables, posted on WikiLeaks’ secret-sharing website early Monday but dated Jan. 1, show Japanese officials repeatedly told U.S. counterparts the group’s actions were making whaling a political issue and hurting any chance of a compromise on the numbers of whales killed each year.

Sea Shepherd vessels are currently chasing Japan’s whaling fleet in the Antarctic Ocean in the hopes of interrupting its hunt, which kills up to 1,000 whales annually and typically lasts from December to February.

Japan hunts whales under the research exemption to a 1986 worldwide ban on commercial hunts. Critics say there is no reason to kill the animals, and the research program amounts to commercial whaling in disguise because surplus meat from the hunt is sold domestically.

ADVERTISEMENT

Protest ships harass the whaling fleet, and clashes between the sides often take place. On Saturday, Watson said that whalers had shot water cannons at anti-whaling activists nearby.

Last January, a Sea Shepherd boat was sunk after its bow was sheared off in a collision with a whaling vessel and a New Zealand protestor was later arrested after he boarded a Japanese whaling ship. He was taken to Tokyo and later deported.

ADVERTISEMENT

The cables are dated before an International Whaling Commission meeting last year that was seen as a major chance to end a decades long stalemate. They show the U.S. worked with Japan in late 2009 to reach a deal on the issue, calling it an “irritant” in international relations.

The meeting ended without a major agreement.

“Action on the SSCS (Sea Shepherd Conservation Society) would be a major element for Japan in the success of the overall negotiations,” a Japanese official said, according to one cable.

ADVERTISEMENT

Watson said Monday that his group was against anything less than a complete stop to Japan’s whaling program in Antarctica. The activists hope to block whaling activities for the Japanese fleet so it incurs deep financial losses.

“I don’t think a solution is going to come through politics, it’s going to come through economics,” Watson told The Associated Press by telephone from his ship while pursuing the Japanese fleet.

Mochila insert follows

Powered by Mochila

ADVERTISEMENT

Image credit: AFP.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

So long, Steve King: 9-term white supremacist GOP congressman from Iowa loses primary

Published

on

U.S. Congressman Steve King, a nine-term Republican of Iowa, has just lost his primary to a GOP challenger. It's a huge fall from grace: In 2014 The Des Moines Register labeled the former earth-moving company founder a "presidential kingmaker."

But his racist, white nationalist, white supremacist, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, homophobic, transphobic, biphobic remarks and disturbing ties to far right radical European politicians – including one he endorsed who has ties to a neo-Nazi, finally caught up with him.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

When the president’s son-in-law truly was a great success

Published

on

For many Americans, the idea of the president tasking his son-in-law with solving national, even international, crises, seems problematic, if not absurd. But it happened once before and turned out to be the kind of “great success story” our current first family wants us to believe in again. Slightly over a century ago, as the US mobilized for the First World War, the nation faced devastating breakdowns of its financial and transport systems. In response, President Woodrow Wilson leaned heavily on his talented and experienced Treasury Secretary, William McAdoo, who just happened to be his son-in-law. Looking back at this episode tells us a lot about what makes for successful emergency management at the highest levels of government.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Here are 7 ways Donald Trump is just like Henry Ford — and why that’s not good for American democracy

Published

on

On May 21, speaking at the Ford Motor Company’s Rawsonville plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Donald Trump paid his latest homage to Henry Ford, lauding the family’s “good bloodlines” with Ford’s great grandson sitting in the front row.

Ford, like Trump, was obsessed with bloodlines—with the idea that race and genetic origins determined who counted as the “best people.”

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image