Wednesday, January 16, 2008


GreensBlog is the official collective blog of Greens Senators Bob Browne, Christine Milne, Rachel Siewert and Kerry Nettle. The site's most recent post is Whaling, Pirates & the Japanese. The post is riddled with errors and misrepresentations – the whole post is reproduced below with nonsense highlighted in orange.
A complex situation has arisen in the Southern Ocean where the Japanese Whaling fleet run by The Institute of Cetacean Research is attempting to slaughter nearly a thousand whales for the purpose of ’scientific research.’

Greenpeace located the fleet and claims to have chased the whalers out of hunting grounds. With the Australian Federal Courts’ recent decision, there is now legal precedence that Japanese are targeting humpback whales in the Australian whale sanctuary in contravention of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The Japanese do not recognise Australia’s claim, and responded by ignoring the judgement.
As far as I know the court's ruling concerns whaling in general; humpbacks are singled out by the Senators because Australians are likely to be more concerned about them than about minkes, which make up most of the kill. Have any humpbacks been killed? Do the Japanese plan to kill humpbacks? Japan is not alone in not recognizing Australia's Antarctic exclusion zone: only New Zealand, France, Norway and Britain recognise Australia's claim.
Now the Sea Shepard have put two of their members aboard a Japanese Ship from their ship Steve Irwin and claims they were tied to the mast, thrown overboard and are being mistreated. Despite the Japanese Government saying the activists would be released, the ships captain refuses to do so, unless certain demands are met.

The Japanese are calling for Sea Shepard to vacate the area, and cease all interference, including monitoring, filming and recording of Japanese fleet movements. Sea Shepard Captain Paul Watson has refused to respond to the demands, describing the actions of the Japanese as ‘an act of terrorism’.
Sea Shepherd crew have consistently been the aggressors; the Senators should not slavishly repeat their unsubstantiated claims. Tied to the mast preparatory to a flogging, like in an old pirate movie? Or were they tied to a rail? No one was thrown overboard. The situation is very confused at the moment – no one at this stage knows for certain that the whalers have made any unreasonable demands. The best I can tell the whalers are correct in claiming the two boarders are pirates. Holding them is not an act of terrorism just as briefly tying a pirate to a rail is not torture.
This all comes within a week of the posting of an inflammatory YouTube clip, with English and Japanese subtitles, accusing Australia of white supremacy, exclusionist nationalism, a racist ideology and of prejudice towards the Japanese. The clip includes images of slain dingoes, wallabies and kangaroos, whilst also using footage from the Cronulla riots.
Freedom of speech can be a bitch.
Meanwhile, the Australian Customs ship Oceanic Viking has still not been sighted in whaling waters, despite being launched recently to ensure Japanese whalers do not fish in protected waters.
The Oceanic Viking recently got underway. She was launched in 1996. The mission is to observe whaling operations. She is crewed by civilians but does mount two .50 caliber machine guns. The on board Customs officers can do nothing to stop whaling operations. Whales are not fish. But if this post is any indication, Greens Senators are idiots.

Update: The GreensBlog post was actually written by Tim Norton, apparently a member of Senator Rachel Siewert's communications staff. No matter, the post appears on what is proclaimed to be the Greens Senators' official blog. If the Senators aren't already vetting Norton's posts they definitely need to do so in the future.

I was imprecise in saying "As far as I know the court's ruling concerns whaling in general..." The Federal Court ruling applies specifically to Antarctic minke whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). My point above remains valid, however: I do not know that the GreensBlog post is correct in stating that the Japanese are "targeting humpback whales" but I do know that in the past they have targeted the less attractive minke and fin whales. The GreensBlog post tries to stir emotions by mentioning only humpback whales.


Anonymous rodw said...

This is what the Japanese should have done to the two Sea Shepard pirates.

8:01 AM  

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