On Monday, Wikileaks released documents revealing discussions between
U.S. and Japanese officials over plans to weaken Sea Shepherd Conservation
Society's anti-whaling efforts.
Sea Shepherd sails the seas every
year in an effort to protect whales by interfering with hunts by Japan's
whaling fleets. The documents leaked to Spanish newspaper El Pais
reported Monica Medina, the U.S. representative to the International Whaling
Commission (IWC), and senior officials from the Fisheries Agencies of Japan
last year discussed stripping Sea Shepherd's tax-exempt status as a
political move to come to an international agreement on the number of whales
killed each year.
Japan also wants harsher measures to deal with the
alleged 'eco-terrorists,' about which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
At its meeting in June, the International Whaling Commission
failed to reach a compromise between the last three whaling nations and
those opposed to it. Since the creation of the IWC, increased opposition to
whaling led to the moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, and later the
creation of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Now, only three of the 88
nations involved, Japan, Norway and Iceland, continue to hunt whales.
Japan could potentially get a legal kill quota if it cuts the numbers
killed in the Southern Ocean. Until then Japan continues to use a loop hole
in the moratorium, killing whales under the guise of scientific research--in
a sanctuary--for whales. where they're protected by international law.
Providing a legal kill quota to protect whales does not protect whales,
it protects whaling. Sea Shepherd is reportedly against anything less than a
complete stop to whaling in Antarctica. Paul Watson, founder of Sea
that the 'initial agreement was a betrayal by the Obama administration
against the whales."
Katsuhiro Machida, the director general of
Japan's fisheries agency stated that taking action against Sea Shepherd
would be a 'major element' in international negotiations on kill quotas.
This would be the same fisheries agency that was just
called out for taking 'gifts' of whale meat from whalers.
said she believed 'the US government was capable to prove that the group doesn't
deserve its tax-exempt status due to aggressive and harmful actions.'
'Monica Medina of course had no authority to speak on the
issue of tax status because she was not authorized to do so by the Internal
Revenue Service or the U.S. Department of State,' said Watson.
said in the past Japan has pressured foreign governments to take action
against the group, such as revoking the registration of its ships. Sea
Shepherd was audited two years ago, before the discussions leaked in the
documents, he said.
"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.
'No harmful or aggressive actions have
been proven against Sea Shepherd and no charges have been filed against Sea
Shepherd by Japan or any other nation over the issue of whaling in the
Southern Ocean,' said Watson.
The deputy general director of Japan's
fisheries agency was also quoted stating, 'the harassment of the Sea
Shepherd Conservation Society had kept the Japanese whaling fleet from
reaching its quotas these last few years,' which really means that Sea
Shepherd is, in fact, successful.
Right now Sea Shepherd boats are in
the Antarctic Ocean disrupting Japan's fleet which kills about 1,000 whales
So there you have your tax-dollars at work. No wait, your
donations to an NGO working!