Paul Watson: Chasing the whalers - part 2

By Guest Columnists

ABOARD FARLEY MOWAT, SOUTHERN OCEAN - It is time for the government of Australia to act responsibly in the Australian Antarctic Territory.

Australia needs to send a naval ship to keep the peace and to observe for themselves what is going on down in the Southern Ocean instead of believing every lie that Japan fabricates to defend their bogus research commercial whaling operations.

The Japanese whaling fleet is in flagrant violation of numerous international and Australian laws by killing whales off the coast of Antarctica in waters claimed by Australian.

They have rammed a Greenpeace ship and attempted to ram my ship, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Farley Mowat, on Christmas day.

Prime Minister John Howard said at a recent meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that "I do not support action which endangers lives or breaks the law."

He was referring to those of us defending the whales when it is the Japanese breaking the laws and endangering human life and inhumanely killing whales.

When I warned that the Japanese were armed and were planning to damage our ship, Australian Environment Minister Ian Campbell spun the story to suggest that it was the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society that were the bad guys and said, "There appears to be a prima facie case that they may be setting out to break the law."

He has asked the Ministry of Justice to investigate Sea Shepherd yet Japan is openly breaking Australian law without any action by Australia.

What is curious about this is that Campbell is acknowledging that Australia has the right to investigate and lay charges against my ship - a Canadian flag vessel carrying non-Australian citizens - over a Japanese complaint coming from the Australia Antarctic Territory. Yet he claims that Australian has no right to enforce conservation laws against Japan.

Australia must send a naval vessel down here to see what is going on and to keep the peace. What if the Japanese kill or injure one or more of the whale defenders? Will Australia intervene then, or will they intervene to appease Japan by arresting those defending the whales.

This is a highly dangerous situation down here. Volunteers from around the world are here to do the job that the world's governments should be doing. The Japanese are aggressive, violent and arrogant. The whale defenders are determined, courageous and bold. This is a recipe for disaster Mr Howard and Mr Campbell.

The government says that the Japanese do not recognise the Australian claim to the Antarctic treaty.

In 1942 they did not recognise Australia's claim to Australia. Australians fought them and won yet today's leaders bow and surrender to Japan.

Japanese money has succeeded today where Japanese military might failed in the past.

Send the navy to keep the peace. That is the responsible thing to do. If Australia has eyes down here, Australia will have the facts and then the Australian government can stop acting like a public relations firm hired by Tokyo.

* Paul Watson is founder and president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

* Three New Zealanders are among the 43 crew of Farley Mowat: Shayne McGrath and brothers Simeon and Willie Houtman.

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