“Yesterday I did not know what an eco-terrorist was. Now it appears that I am one?”
- Sea Shepherd Deckhand Amanda Caldwell
When Japanese whalers, Canadian sealers, Costa Rican shark poachers, and Libyan bluefin tuna poachers call Sea Shepherd an “eco-terrorist” organization, I always have the same response: “Okay already, arrest us, or shut the hell up!” This constant, misguided yammering about alleged terrorism every time someone tries to nonviolently stop some thug from clubbing seals, harpooning whales, or finning sharks is downright ignorant, and just plain silly.
What exactly is an eco-terrorist? There is no known law defining the alleged crime of eco-terrorism. And what kind of crimes would an eco-terrorist commit? There’s arson, but Sea Shepherd has never burned anything. There’s bomb making, planting, throwing, and conspiring about bombing, but we don’t do anything like that either. Kidnapping? Nope. Physical assault is also not a part of our modus operandi.
Sea Shepherd is to terrorism what Groucho was to Marxism. Our brand of so-called “terrorism” is effective, and most importantly, perfectly legal and harmless. Actually, it should be called “eco-terraism” from “terra,” meaning earth, and “ism,” meaning of or for the earth. As defenders of the earth (and sea), this makes us more “terraists” than “terrorists,” so perhaps it’s simply a matter of confusion or an underhanded plot to depict earth defenders as evil threats to humanity.
Sea Shepherd hasn’t rammed a single Japanese whaling ship in the seven years we’ve voyaged to the Southern Ocean, but the Steve Irwin has been rammed twice, the Bob Barker once, and the Ady Gil was not only intentionally rammed, it was destroyed. We have had concussion grenades thrown at us, and I was once shot in the chest, but despite all this, the whalers and others accuse us of violence.
After all, that’s what public relations firms are for. The foundation for most public relations businesses is to spin truth into lies and lies into truth with the understanding that it doesn’t matter what’s true, it only matters what people believe is true.
Last week, the Japanese Foreign Minister called the Netherlands, Australian, and New Zealand Ambassadors to publicly scold them for allowing Sea Shepherd to fly their flags and use their ports. The ambassadors must have been mystified to what Japan wants them to do. If a crime has been committed, what is the nature of the offense? Is there a warrant for anyone’s arrest? Does Japan seriously expect democratic nations like New Zealand, Australia, and the Netherlands to arrest, detain, and deny entry to people who haven’t been charged with any crime?
It’s interesting that Japan demands that Australia and New Zealand ban Sea Shepherd ships from entering their ports, yet the Japanese whaling ships are unwelcome in these ports because they’re engaged in illegal activity.
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