Again ocean defenders are arrested: New Zealand's Bethune, Tokyo Two, Australian Trio, Dutch Erwin.. Now Canadian Paul Watson
For over 30 years, determined ocean defender Captain Paul Watson has saved many wildlife, from seals, whales, dolphins, to blue tuna... but his enemies are also determined, and very "powerful, most notably the government of Japan." "Save Captain Paul Watson from a politically-motivated extradition to Costa Rica where he will not receive a fair trial, nor is it likely that he would even survive jail to see the inside of a courtroom. The Taiwanese shark fin mafia in Costa Rica have made threats on Captain Watson’s life. Costa Rica is one of the world’s largest exporters of shark fins, a trade thought to be worth millions of dollars and controlled by the Taiwanese mafia. In January 2011, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and his TV crew were allegedly held at gunpoint and dowsed with gasoline during the filming of his documentary on the shark-finning trade in Costa Rica." Newly released video evidence from the documentary "Sharkwater" proves Capt. Watson's innocence, but he is still being extradited from Germany to Costa Rica tomorrow (Fri), May 18. Filmmaker Rob Stewart joins the global call to free Paul Watson.
Arrest of Capt. Watson lawful? A 10-year-old case: no one injured, no property damaged; "the charges were originally dropped once the authorities saw the footage (from Sharkwater Film by Rob Stewart)"?
Sharkwater Film by Rob Stewart Proof Sea Shepherd Captain Innocent -
Fact 1. The event happened in Year 2002, when Sea Shepherd tried to stop illegal shark-finning;
Fact 2. During the event in Year 2002, "no one was injured and no property damaged";
Fact 3. The charges were originally dropped once the authorities saw footage from the Sharkwater film by Rob Stewart.
Only a handful of volunteers under the leadership of Captain Paul Watson are risking their own lives to defend lives who cannot speak the human language - they are defending the ocean, and they are defending humanity, against profit-driven killing / cruelty... this is simple truth, self-evident.
Here are the questions, intriguing -
Q1. Why Costa Rica has (could have) revived a 10-year-old case, particularly when "the charges were originally dropped once the authorities saw footage (Sharkwater Film by Rob Stewart)"?
Q2. Which country's law permits reviving a 10-year-old case, particularly when "the charges were originally dropped by the authorities"? Costa Rican law? or German law?
Q3. Who should stand on trial - those defending defenseless ocean life? or those who slaughter whales, sharks, blue fin tuna, dolphins..., some of which are already endangered species?
Hard to believe that Common Sense and Law would not dismiss the 10-year-old "case" which was once dropped...
"If the oceans die, we die. We cannot live on this planet with a dead ocean." - Capt. Paul Watson
Sharkwater Film by Rob Stewart Proof Sea Shepherd Captain Innocent - Filmmaker Rob Stewart joins the global call to free Paul Watson, the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, after German officials continue to detain him with a preliminary extradition arrest warrant to Costa Rica. Stewart has now released video evidence from his documentary Sharkwater to prove Watson's innocence.
Captain Paul Watson was detained in Germany on May 12, 2012 for an international warrant for his arrest. The arrest is based on allegations of violating "ships traffic" in Guatemalan waters, after a clash in 2002 between fishermen on the ship Varadero 1 who were illegally poaching sharks and the Sea Shepherd's ship, Ocean Warrior.
The event took place during the filming of Rob Stewart's award-winning documentary Sharkwater, released in 2007, which brought the shark finning industry into the spotlight. Stewart says his film disproves the accusations made against Watson.
"The fishermen were not injured and their boat was not damaged," said Toronto filmmaker Rob Stewart, who witnessed the altercation. "There was no attempt to harm any human life. The charges were originally dropped once the authorities saw my footage. Paul's arrest does however show that the same problems portrayed in Sharkwater may still plague Costa Rica - and now more than ever we need Paul Watson free."
Stewart is calling on everyone to put pressure on the German Federal Minister of Justice and Federal Affairs to free Watson immediately.
Sea Shepherd leader fears for his life - Conservation group leader Paul Watson says he was surprised by his detention in Germany, and has pointed to "powerful enemies" of Sea Shepherd's campaigns.
In responses to Fairfax Media's questions relayed to him in a Frankfurt Airport holding cell overnight, Mr Watson expressed fears for his life in Costa Rica if extradition was granted by Germany. "In our efforts to defend the whales, we have made some powerful enemies, most notably the government of Japan," Mr Watson said.
Costa Rica has revived a 10-year-old case in which Mr Watson's then ship Farley Mowat was involved in a collision with a shark-fishing boat. The central American country has alleged navigation offences. "I am surprised that Germany would consider extradition for an alleged offence against an illegal fishing vessel that did not cause injury, nor did it damage property," Mr Watson said.
Sea Shepherd said a long-lapsed warrant for Mr Watson's arrest was taken up again in Costa Rica last October, just as Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research initiated a civil case aimed at stopping the group. "It is no coincidence that the extradition request by Costa Rica was issued the same month as the Japanese lawsuit against Sea Shepherd was initiated," Mr Watson said.
[Huffington Post] Peter Brown: Free Paul Watson!
While people around the world revere Captain Paul Watson for the stands he takes to save whales, as featured on the popular Animal Planet series Whale Wars, the German government has him under arrest for a 2005 complaint for the very actions millions cheer for each week. I hear the arresting officers were fans of the series, which was recently released there.
As I understand it, Paul Watson was arrested on an Interpol warrant for a complaint from Costa Rican fishermen for a collision at sea. Watson claims the fishermen were illegally poaching shark, and he intervened. The incident in question was caught on video by the crew filming Sharkwater, a feature length documentary film originally released in Canada in 2007. I have not seen the film, but understand the original arrest was featured and no one was injured nor was there any property damage.
"If the oceans die, we die. We cannot live on this planet with a dead ocean." – Capt. Paul Watson
*Update May 19, 2012*
Paul Watson granted bail but...fear for his life
Frankfurt - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is reporting that Captain Paul Watson is to be released on bail in Germany next week. The concerned activist group believes that Watson's imminent extradition to Costa Rica is tantamount to a death sentence.
According to Britain's Guardian newspaper, Watson will be released on bail Monday. Sea Shepherd's spokesman, Peter Hammarstedt, told the newspaper that Watson would spend the weekend in jail and be released once the €250,000 bail funds were available. Meanwhile, the conservation society said it plans to continue with efforts to halt the extradition of Watson to Costa Rica. In a press statement today, SSCS said they will push forward with the International Campaign to:
Save Captain Paul Watson from a politically-motivated extradition to Costa Rica where he will not receive a fair trial, nor is it likely that he would even survive jail to see the inside of a courtroom.
The organization added that Taiwanese shark fin mafia in Costa Rica have made threats on Captain Paul Watson’s life. Costa Rica is one of the world’s largest exporters of shark fins, a trade thought to be worth millions of dollars and controlled by the Taiwanese mafia. In January 2011, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and his TV crew were allegedly held at gunpoint and dowsed with gasoline during the filming of his documentary on the shark-finning trade in Costa Rica.
In a 2010 Costa Rica Human Rights report, the country was criticized for substantial judicial process delays (particularly in pretrial detention and civil, criminal, and labor cases), domestic violence against women and children, child prostitution, trafficking in persons, and child labor.
Furthermore said the report, the Ombudsman's Office recorded 27 complaints of police abuse and:
Although the government continued to improve prison conditions during the year, overcrowding, poor sanitation, lack of health services, and violence among prisoners remained a problem in some prison facilities. Illegal narcotics were readily available in the prisons, and drug abuse was common.
Violence and poor conditions for prisoners remain a problem alongside corruption that allegedly runs deep throughout Costa Rica's government. In July 2011, criminology expert Patricia Molina told The Tico Times that alleged prisoner abuse at the hands of prison guards at Costa Rica's notorious La Reforma prison, could lead to another escape attempt or a possible prison riot. In May 2011, corruption and guard abuse at La Reforma, led to an escape attempt by prison inmates. The bid for freedom resulted in the deaths of two prisoners and one guard. Eleven days after the riot, Johel Araya, the prisoner behind the escape attempt, was found beaten to death in his jail cell. Ten prison guards are currently under investigation for the murder. Just four months later, a study by the National Water Laboratory of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA), confirmed the faecal contamination of water within the same prison.
Recently, Ofelia Taitelbaum, a UN anti-torture expert, deplored the dire state of Latin American prisons when he said that no country in the region could call their detention centers humane. Overpopulation in Costa Rican prisons is rife and grew by 28.1% in 2011 said Inside Costa Rica.com.
As for Watson's plight, authorities in Costa Rica now have 90 days to send the required extradition papers to Germany, but the final decision said the German court, is up to the federal justice ministry.
Sea Shepherd and its supporters vow not to sit idle, the organization is "Planning a global day of action on Wednesday May 23, to coincide with a diplomatic visit to Germany by Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla Miranda," it said.
[National Geographic] The “Sea-lebrities” are supporting Captain Paul Watson
The Sea-lebrities, a term coined by the Barbi Twins, are saying, “Free the Captain!” Not only is he on a rival network—Animal Planet—but he is opposed to the work of marine parks–work which I condone, have worked with and totally support.
Nevertheless, Paul Watson, the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) was released from jail in Germany and may now be extradited to Costa Rica to face charges relating to a confrontation he had with shark fin poachers back in 2002.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is concerned that he won’t even make it to a courthouse in Costa Rica before someone takes his life. They have implored celebrities and other followers to observe Save Our Skipper Day—A Global Day of Action—on May 23rd and have asked supporters to write the German Ministers on behalf of Paul Watson.
The iconic pin-ups, the Barbi Twins, are avid supporters of SSCS and Watson and have been recently recruiting celebrities like Joanna Krupa, Ken Wahl, Simone Reyes, Russell Simmons and Willie Nelson’s daughters, Raelyn and Amy to support the Captain and bring him home safely. You can learn more about the Barbi Twins three steps to help save Captain Paul Watson on Russell Simmon’s Global Grind, blog; http://globalgrind.com/news/help-save-captain-paul-watson-barbi-twins.
Here is evidence of other “Sea-lebrities” supporting helping Captain Paul Watson:
Red Hot Chili Peppers http://loudwire.com/red-hot-chili-peppers-rally-fans-to-support-arrested...
Alicia Sliver Stone http://www.thekindlife.com/post/urgent-show-your-support-for-captain-pau...
Elissa Sursara, in running for PETA’s Celebrity of the Year http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/05/17/free-sea-shepherd-captain-pau... http://www.petaasiapacific.com/featureSexiestVegCeleb2012-Eng.asp
Capt. Paul Watson stars in 'Whale Wars' at 9 tonight on Animal Planet
Whale Wars season premiere: Japan uses tsunami funds to hunt whales once more
Last season, Japanese whalers admitted that they had given up the remainder of the whaling season due to Sea Shepherd's ability to block them from hunting whales. Sea Shepherd members cheered and thought that the Japanese were giving up whaling once and for all. But nothing could be further from the truth.
And so a new season of Whale Wars begins tonight on Animal Planet.
Last year, following the tsunami that devastated Japan, various countries offer financial assistance to help this country rebuild from the rubble. But rather than helping families and businesses that have nothing left, reports indicate that the Japanese use a sizable amount of these donations to fund a new whaling campaign in the southern ocean (financial details mentioned in video that accompanies this article). The Japanese are headed back to sea with more security and more manpower to stand against Sea Shepherd. It's a whole new ball game.
This season starts off strong and holds nothing back. Just like the seasons before, you will be swept out to the southern ocean with Sea Shepherd crew in search of the Nisshin Maru and its fleet. Pop your popcorn ahead of time and get the entire family to join you tonight to discover what happens when Captain Paul Watson says enough is enough!
Animal Planet's fifth season of Whale Wars opens with its premier episode, 'Setting the Trap.' Sea Shepherd is outgunned and outmanned but determined to end whaling.
Whale Wars fifth season begins tonight at 9:00 PM (et/pt) on Animal Planet.
*Update Jun 15, 2012*
Former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson has taken to the stage in support of detained Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson and his campaign for the protection of sharks.
Watson, who is currently under arrest in Germany, is pending extradition to Costa Rica where he faces an arrest warrant for attempting to halt illegal shark finning operations in protected waters.
There are fears that, if extradited, he will never make it out of jail alive as their is a bounty on his head.
TV actress Anderson held a rally for Sea Shepherd in the German city of Frankfurt on Wednesday (June 13) and called for his release. Anderson said that she hopes that Watson will not be extradited to Costa Rica and that his detention in Germany will help raise world-wide awareness of whales and sharks. 'This is an opportunity to bring awareness to the terrible industry of shark finning and people could actually go online and look at what that entails and how terribly barbaric and cruel that is,'
Actress Pamela Anderson came out in defense of the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Paul Watson, who is in Germany awaiting possible extradition to Costa Rica. Anderson, who explained that she already has worked for three years protecting animals and that she even got his father to abandon hunting, demanded an end to the possible extradition of Watson and noted that “the whole world is watching this process.”
75% of Japan’s whale meat goes unsold
On Wednesday it was revealed that after repeated auctions, 75% of the whale meat from last year’s hunt in Japan could not be sold. A somewhat-public body named the Institute of Cetacean Research, which organizes Japan’s whaling expeditions, stated the statistic that out of the 1,200 tons of the minke, Bryde’s, and sei meat, three-quarters could not find interested buyers.
Sea Shepherd: The M/V Sam Simon to Join the Sea Shepherd Fleet for the Next Voyage to Antarctica
The rumors are true! The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is going to add a fourth ship to the fleet. The Sam Simon will soon join the Bob Barker, Steve Irwin, and Brigitte Bardot. Sam Simon generously donated the funds to purchase the ship... to join us on our return to the Southern Ocean to once again confront the illegal whaling activities of the Japanese whaling fleet. I wish I could elaborate on the ship but until it is secured, outfitted, and ready for Whale Wars, that information has to remain classified. What I can say is that former German-government-owned ships are meticulously maintained and kept in good running order. It will not be a problem to have the new ship underway in time for the voyage to Australia and on to Antarctica.
The Sea Shepherd crew intends to return to the Southern Ocean in a campaign to be called Operation Zero Tolerance. Zero Tolerance illustrates our objective of zero kills by the Japanese whalers and it is a title that makes use of the image of the Zero in Japanese history. Sea Shepherd is confident that four ships and two helicopters plus unmanned drones will give the Whale Warriors the combination of speed, range, strength, and communication abilities to accomplish this zero kill objective.
Four ships, four captains, and over 120 crew from around the globe represent a force to be reckoned with, and once again the integrity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary will be defended by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Sea Shepherd is proud to include Sam Simon in the short and distinguished list of compassionate, dedicated, and concerned activists whose names have graced Sea Shepherd ships over the years. This list includes Edward Abbey, Cleveland Amory, Farley Mowat, Robert Hunter, Steve Irwin, Brigitte Bardot, Bob Barker, and now Sam Simon.
Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons is a longtime champion of animals and a wonderfully compassionate human being. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is proud to have him on our Advisory Board and proud indeed to be launching a ship bearing his name. The Sam Simon will be taking a leading and important role in Operation Zero Tolerance in defense of the whales. Thank you Sam. We will make you proud of this ship and what it can and will accomplish.
*Update July 4, 2012*
Sea Shepherd Win Court Ruling Over Released Bluefin Tuna
Marine defence group Sea Shepherd has won a lawsuit filed against it by a Maltese fisheries company for releasing hundreds of bluefin tuna from pens off the coast of Libya in June 2010.
Sea Shepherd admit to freeing 800 large bluefin tuna, saying the fish were caught after the fishing season had ended. “What we did in 2010 we have no apologies for,” Watson said in a press release. “We freed 800 large endangered bluefin tuna illegally caught by poachers off the coast of Libya. We cut the nets and when the Maltese company that claimed ownership of these liberated fish sued us, we stood our ground in court and we won, the tuna won, and the poachers lost.”
*Update July 15, 2012*
Paul Watson: “They don’t want a trial, but an execution”
Paul Watson, the head of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society currently awaiting extradition to Costa Rica in Germany, has said in an exclusive interview that the Shark Fin mafia doesn’t want a trial, but his execution in prison.
What are your current actions against whaling?
We are concentrating on sending our ships to the Southern Ocean, where we blocked Japanese whaling activities over the year – this year it took 26% of the quota, last year 17% of the quota – so we’are able to effectively stop them killing a lot of whales. It’s been very successful and it costs them tens of millions of dollars. The aim in the beginning was to sink Japanese whaling economically. We have achieved that; they are heavily bankrupt. But now they are carrying on just because they don’t want to surrender. As the Prime Minister of Japan said, he is not going to surrender to Sea Shepherd. So now it is just upon pride and political purposes. The question is for how long they are going to subsidize it, because every year we go down stronger.
How do you feel about being in Germany and having no opportunity to take part in Sea Shepherd actions?
It is very inconvenient and it doesn’t make any sense, because Costa Rica issued a warrant demand for my extradition. It was something that happened ten years ago where nobody was injured, no property was damaged, and all we did is stopped the illegal shark fin operation in Guatemala’s waters at the request of the Guatemalan government. But suddenly it just appeared ten years later and conveniently after the meeting between the Costa Rican president and the Japanese Prime Minister. And just two weeks ago Japan gave Costa Rica nine million dollars for the national park. Interpol dismissed this warrant was politically motivated. Now the mystery is why Germany has picked it up, because Germany has no extradition treaty with Costa Rica. I think it is highly political and we just have to ride it out and see what the German courts say. If Germany rules not to extradite me, then I’m free. If it rules to extradite me, it can’t be overwritten by the Ministry of Justice here in Germany, and it has to be appealed in the European Court.
In the film “Sharkwater” it was said that the shark mafia has influence on the government. It is really that serious?
I think they have a lot of influence on the Costa Rican government. Last year they exported about 30 tons of shark fins. That’s a lot of sharks and that’s a lot of money, which buys quite a lot of influence. The Shark Fin mafia – as we call them – had a $25,000 reward on my head ten years ago, which is probably bigger now. And I am very concerned about that. I met the Costa Rican Foreign Minister in Germany. I said: “Look, this is very simple to resolve. Simply drop the extradition charge and set a trial day. You set a trial day, I’ll come to Costa Rica with my film and my witnesses, and we’ll come to court. We have the evidence for the case and we’re not concerned about that. But when you extradite me, you bring me there in handcuffs; you can hold me for a year in your prison until you have a trial. And what is a better place to collect their reward and then kill me in prison?” But he refused. So I don’t think they want a trial. I think they want an execution. And the interesting thing in that conversation with the Costa Rican Foreign Minister is this: he said, “You don’t have to worry, we don’t have any corruption in our country, prisons are very safe and the proof for that is we have two foreign presidents in the prisons, who everybody hated, and they’re safe.” And I said, “Well, you said there is no corruption in your country, so what are those two former presidents doing in prison?”
Do they influence the government with money?
The government doesn’t do much of the stuff; the shark finners are more concerned with us. You know, ten years ago we were supplying a lot of equipment to the Cocos Island rangers. Over the last ten years our efforts in the Galapagos Islands helped seize numerous Costa Rican poachers in the Galapagos Islands, so it cost millions of dollars. Last year, the celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey was in Costa Rica doing a program on shark finning. He was actually doused with gasoline and they threatened to light him on fire at gun point. When the police came, they just told that Ramsey should leave the country, and there was no action taken. Last year a biologist was assaulted by shark finners and again police did nothing against the fishermen. So the laws are very one sided when it comes to protecting fishermen in Costa Rica. It likes to present itself as a green country, an environmentally-aware country. But there are Chinese fishing vessels fishing illegally that they allowed in their waters; there are shark finning operations where they are killing dolphins in tuna nets; and they are using heavy pesticides in their banana and coffee fields. There are so many problems there. This “greenness” in the tourist brochures is certainly not in practice.
You said it would be enough to change the world if just 5-7 % of the population were as radical an activist as you are.
Actually, I never really look at myself as a real radical activist, I am more the conservative. I mean, the conservatives are trying to conserve, the radicals are destroying the planet. Any social movement throughout history has always been carried out by only 7% of population being passionately active in that. So all we really need is 7% of the population being passionate about this and we can change things. Unfortunately, there are more subscribers to the videogame World of Warcraft than there are environmentalists in the world, so we haven’t reached that 7% mark yet.
How is it possible to change the world with such a small number?
Well, just like any other social revolution, it is to keep the ball rolling. And what we really need to do is simply make sure that all of the world’s conservation laws, regulations, and treaties are enforced. We have them, so we don’t need to make up any new laws; we just have to get politicians or governments to stop cozying up with the corporations that destroy our planet and start representing the fact that we need a life support system on this planet. And our life support system is being eroded. We can compare the Earth to a spaceship, that’s what it is. We are traveling through space at 500 kilometers an hour. And like any spaceship it has a life support system, it’s a biosphere – it provides us with the air we breathe, the food we eat, and regulates the temperature and climate. And that biosphere is run by a crew of earthlings: bacteria, insects, fish, trees, flowers, bees – all of those creatures make it possible for us to live. We humans are not the crew, we are passengers. We have great time entertaining ourselves, but the crew is running the ship. And unfortunately we are killing off the crew. And there are only so many crew members we can kill off before the life support system begins to fall apart. And when that happens, we are in serious trouble. The oceans are the main engine of that life support system. If the oceans die – we die. It is as simple as that. We can’t live on a planet with a dead ocean.
The satirist George Carlin had a monologue called “The Earth is fine”. His point was that humanity isn’t able to hurt the planet, but it’s able to harm itself. And all the actions we take are not for saving the planet, but ourselves.
We can’t kill the planet, but we can certainly make it uncomfortable for quite a few species. You know, we had five major extinctions in the past of the planet – the last one 65.2 millions years ago. It usually takes eighteen to twenty millions years for the planet to recover after a major extinction event. So do we really want to be responsible as the species for putting the planet into the sixth major extinction event and bringing about another fifteen-twenty million-year recovery period? So yes, it’s not just the extinction of all the creatures, but it’s also the extinction of ourselves. We can’t live on this planet with a dead ocean, as I said. So, when you look at conservation and environmentalism, it is about protecting humanity – those creatures are the ones making it possible for us to be here.
Feds to reroute S.F. Bay ships to help protect whales
Scientists studying the carcass of a 47-foot fin whale that washed up on a beach in the Point Reyes
National Seashore last month found the creature's spine and ribs severed, likely from the propeller of one of the huge cargo ships that sail those waters. There have been many victims of such accidents in recent years as migrating blue, fin and humpback whales have been lured close to California's shore by plentiful krill, the shrimp-like organisms they eat. All three species are endangered.
"In 2010 it really struck home when a female blue whale carrying a calf was found dead on the beach," said Maria Brown, NOAA's superintendent for the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. "And blue whales' numbers are so small — to lose a female and a new whale coming into the population really sent home the message that we needed to look at the whale strike issue."
South Korea: If Japan can hunt whales, so can we
South Korea's bid to resume whaling may be designed more to attract a key voting bloc during an election year than to benefit science. It has been largely condemned by the international community.
South Korea announced last week that it may abruptly scrap plans to hunt whales for ‘scientific’ purposes.
According to newer reports, Fisheries official Kang Joon-suk said on Wednesday that Seoul may find ways to study the cetaceans without the need for lethal killing. South Korea announced last week that it may abruptly scrap plans to hunt whales for ‘scientific’ purposes.
*Update July 25, 2012*
German Leader of the Greens' parliamentary party Volker Beck said at the time of Watson's arrest that he should not be sent to Costa Rica as "it is to be feared that Paul Watson would not get a fair trial." Beck also said it was not unlikely that the fact that Watson was being pursued so long after the incident pointed to a political motive. Watson himself has previously suggested that Japan might be "putting pressure" on Germany to carry out the extradition order and that he believes it is unusual to issue an extradition order for "a relatively minor offense, where no one was injured and no property damaged" - he claims.
"They hope that by getting me out of the way, they'll shut down our operations. They won't," Watson said. "This is not about me. It is about our oceans and the ever-escalating threat of diminishment of the diversity of life in our seas. It is about the sharks, the whales, the seals, the sea turtles and the fish," he said.
*Update July 27, 2012*
Japan asked Germany to arrest Paul Watson... The Japanese embassy in Berlin confirmed in a statement to The Associated Press that it submitted its request to German authorities on July 19. Three days later Capt. Watson - who was on €250,000 ($300,000) bail in Germany pending a separate extradition request from Costa Rica - last reported to authorities.
Sven Matthiessen, a spokesman for the group in Germany, said he himself did not know Mr Watson's whereabouts. But he said the group had been aware of Japan's attempts to extradite Mr Watson. "There is some sort of connection between the requests made by Japan and Costa Rica," Mr Matthiessen told the AP.
*Update July 31, 2012*
Message from Captain Paul Watson after leaving Germany
Captain Paul Watson contacted Sea Shepherd Conservation Society headquarters over the weekend from an undisclosed location requesting a personal message to be forwarded on to his supporters. Watson recently fled Germany after he was arrested on a 10-year-old Costa Rican warrant and relinquished his bail after serving a 70 day house arrest. Susan Hartland, Administrative Director of Sea Shepherd, stated that they “have reason to believe from a reliable source that, once in Costa Rica, the Japanese Government may have sought extradition of Captain Watson to Japan to answer charges related to obstructing their illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.”
Paul Watson was arrested in Frankfurt on May 13, 2012 for a 2002 incident in which Sea Shepherd interrupted an illegal shark fin hunt in Costa Rica. With mass support from the public, the Honorable German Ministers of Justice and Foreign Affairs released the whale activist on bail to await extradition to Costa Rica.
Below is the relayed message from the Sea Shepherd Captain, giving a digest of his situation and explaining his recent actions and judgment.
To my friends and supporters,
I am presently in a place on this planet where I feel comfortable, a safe place far away from the scheming nations who have turned a blind eye to the exploitation of our oceans.
The German government said I betrayed their trust by leaving Germany, yet they had already betrayed my trust. The German politicians had made up their minds politically before the German court had made a decision, and during the time I was held in Germany, the Japanese negotiated with Germany to file for an extradition order to Japan on fabricated evidence provided by former Sea Shepherd Crewmember, Peter Bethune.
In 2010, the Japanese ship Shonan Maru #2 deliberately rammed and destroyed the Ady Gil, nearly killing 6 people. The Japanese captain was not even questioned, damages were never paid, no charges were filed and they took the Ady Gil captain, Peter Bethune, back to Japan where he cooperated to provide false evidence to the Japanese Coast Guard to blame me for the boarding actions, despite the on-camera documentation that I specifically advised against the boarding by Bethune.
We have cost the Japanese whaling industry tens of millions of dollars and in October 2011, they were allocated a war chest of some thirty million dollars in misappropriated Tsunami Relief Funds to combat Sea Shepherd. With that money they have increased security at sea, filed civil suits in the U.S. Courts against us, and they have researched just where we might be vulnerable.
And the one possibility they found was a decade-old incident that occurred in Guatemalan waters in 2002. This charge simply involves obstructing a Costa Rican long-liner with water hoses. It was an action that occurred with permission of the Guatemalan government and it was against a fully documented illegal shark-finning operation that was also filmed for the award-winning documentary film, “Sharkwater.” It was against a vessel that only a year before had been convicted of shark-finning in the waters of the Galapagos National Park Marine Reserve, where our vessel the Sirenian had helped to apprehend them.
Japan had previously tried to have me arrested by Interpol for the Bethune incident but Interpol refused their request for a ‘red’ notification, allowing them only a ‘blue’ notice, meaning that countries could report my movements to Japan but could not arrest me.
In December, the President of Costa Rica met with the Prime Minister of Japan. I had attended the Hamburg Film Festival in November 2011 without being arrested in Germany. In March I traveled to Spain and France without incident. Yet in May of 2012, I was arrested in Germany on an extradition warrant from Costa Rica. And what I found was that Costa Rica, like Japan, had issued an Interpol notice and Interpol at the end had dismissed the request.
Germany however, a country without an extradition treaty with Costa Rica or Japan, decided to apprehend me on what they described was a bilateral agreement with Costa Rica. This, of course, caught Japan’s attention and they began negotiations to apply directly to Germany with a request for my extradition. That request by Japan was approved by Germany on July 23rd, 2012. I was alerted to this by reliable sources on July 22nd.
With Costa Rica, I had the evidence on film and with two dozen witnesses I was confident that I could win the case against the allegations of the shark finners. My only concern was that Costa Rica would then hand me over to Japan. For with Japan, there is the absolute certainty that once in Japanese custody, I will never be released.
That certainty meant that there could only be one option: I made the decision to depart Germany immediately.
I find it absurd that in all the years I have been campaigning for the protection and conservation of marine life, where I have not caused a single injury to a single person and have only interfered with illegal operations as defined by international conservation law, that Japan can make accusations against me after destroying a two-million-dollar vessel, injuring a crewmember and almost killing five others.
I am very disappointed with the German government. For me it is obvious that the German government conspired with Japan and Costa Rica to detain me so that I could be handed over to the Japanese. For me it is clear that they made the political decision to turn me over to the Japanese even before a court decision was made. All the German people that I have met were supportive of the work I do. I did not meet a single critic in the streets, in the courts, in the media or at any of the events and presentations that I attended. Even the police and members of the court were supportive.
I am very thankful for the support that I received in Germany and especially from the sympathetic sources that provided me with the information about the decisions made and the impending political decision to accept the Japanese demand to extradite me to Japan, once a court decision would be on their desk.
This was never really about Costa Rica. It has been about Japan all along.
We have confronted the Japanese whalers for eight seasons and we have humiliated them at sea and more importantly we have frustrated their illegal profiteering from the killing of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
This is not about justice; it is about revenge. It is about a small group of dedicated volunteers opposing an economic super power and a multi-million-dollar whale poaching operation in a whale sanctuary. It is about speaking truth to economic and political power.
Costa Rica and Germany have simply been pawns in the Japanese quest to silence Sea Shepherd in an attempt to stop our annual opposition to their illegal whaling activities.
I know the whale killing poachers of Japan will continue to exploit all avenues to find a way to stop me. I have, however, eluded them once again and I will continue to try and keep a step ahead of them, no matter what risks and costs have to be made.
I can serve my clients better at sea than in a Japanese prison cell and I intend to do just that. In December, our ships will sail forth for the ninth campaign to oppose the outlaw Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The campaign will be called Operation Zero Tolerance and we will risk our ships and our selves yet again in the effort required to stop these pelagic bandits in their remorseless slaughter of the gentle giants of the seas.
Thank-you for your continued support,
Captain Paul Watson
Image courtesy Sea Shepherd, TED, Sea No Evil, Earthrace, Reuters, Greenpeace, Rolf Hicker, superblog, Australian Customs, BlueLivingIdeas.com / Flickr / duchamp, Junko Kimura / Getty Images, BBC, Kate Davison / Greenpeace, Koichi Kamoshida / Getty Images, AP Photo / Gregory Bull, William West / AFP / Getty Images, Fox / The Simpsons, chirayliq.blogspot.com, and Billy Danger
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