NZ hero still prisoner of the Japanese State

Written By: - Date published: 8:35 am, April 18th, 2010 - 94 comments
Categories: accountability, activism, john key, leadership, Minister for Overseas Holidays, national - Tags: , , , , ,

Pete Bethune is one of New Zealand’s heroes. He’s been a successful entrepreneur and gone on to use his wealth to fight the big guys on the grounds of principle. As skipper of the New Zealand flagged hi-tech boat Earthrace, his circumnavigation attempts showcased kiwi ingenuity to the world and demonstrated the value of bio-fuels to the marine industry. He’s risked life and limb in the Southern Oceans to expose the tragic farce that is Japanese whaling.

Since then Bethune’s iconic ship has been deliberately mowed down by the Japanese in an act of aggression that will be ruled on by the International Maritime Court as criminal. You only need to look at the video taken from the attacking Japanese ship Shonan Maru II to see how it deliberately alters its heading and turns into Bethune’s ship then quickly turns away once its mission is accomplished. Despite being much much bigger than its victim, the Shonan Maru II is clearly a very manoeuvrable boat, as you’d expect it to be for its role. The collision was no accident. To further add to the Japanese’s illegality, Shonan Maru II then fires water canon on the crew of the stricken vessel, despite international maritime law stating that one must render assistance on the high seas. There is nothing ambiguous about the illegality of the Japanese crew’s actions and this will be shown in court.

Bethune later boarded the Shonan Maru II to make a citizen’s arrest for the attempted murder of his crew. He has remained a prisoner of the Japanese ever since on a range of trumped-up bogus charges. He still awaits trial in the Japanese legal system, a system that boasts a profoundly suspicious 95% conviction rate. Bethune is of course a political prisoner, a fact that I suspect will make the chances of a kangaroo court conviction even higher. He faces up to 15 years imprisonment for daring to say NO to Japanese whaling interests.

And what have we heard from our Government on the topic of standing up for our citizen’s interests, let alone standing up for a national hero? Well, sweet FA. When McCully did open his mouth it was to oafishly suggest that, despite the basic edicts of maritime law and evidence that the Japanese had imperiously ignored it, it was somehow mysteriously all the protesters’ fault for bothering to stand up for a principle against profoundly immoral corporate interests. Now that Murray has finally managed to engage his brain on the topic the best he can come up with is to stand by in silence and leave a New Zealand national to languish as a prisoner of the Japanese.

The cowardly and toadying silence from the Key Government over Bethune’s plight is as disgraceful as it is foolhardy.

In practical terms it really doesn’t pay to let other governments think you don’t give a shit about your own people, especially if they’re national heroes like Bethune. As a maritime nation it’s also good to stick up for international maritime law. In a geopolitical sense, simpering appeasement really doesn’t pay as a strategy for dealing with imperialist aggression – just ask Mr Chamberlain. And in terms of our domestic politics, if Bethune is convicted by the Japanese and kept in their prisons, this will become a running sore that will do nothing but continue to disgrace our Government and fuel very impassioned campaigns against it. It will raise many old animosities with older voters, and politicize many younger voters – voters who see direct political action as heroic.

Messrs Key and McCully, stuff this one up any more and you will come to deeply regret that you never lifted a finger to save one of ours.

94 comments on “NZ hero still prisoner of the Japanese State”

  1. RedLogix 1

    It will raise many old animosities with older voters, and politicize many younger voters voters who see direct political action as heroic.

    Absolutely. Reading this post got to me… it flat out pisses me off that this govt is getting away with insulting so many NZ’ers like this . It’s a complete abdication of moral leadership for a short-term easy gain.

    Galling as it is for Labour supporters to watch Key basking in the glory of NZ’s nuclear-free legislation, the NACT’s might well pause for reflection that this moment came off the back of 20 years of being cold-shouldered by the Americans, of successive US administrations using it as a convenient excuse to marginalise us wherever possible. It was at a pragmatic level a wholly inconvenient policy… but it has been proven the right one in the long run.

    This is surely the real lesson to be learnt here.

  2. Good on ya Sprout.

    At the very least the fact that a New Zealand flagged boat with New Zealand nationals on board was rammed and sunk with the possibility of loss of life should have drawn some sort of comment from the Minister but I guess he had more important things on his mind like how to erect a tent on a wharf.

    The response at the sewer goes along the lines that the Sea Shepherd has done lots of naughty things so why shouldn’t the Japanese be allowed to ram the Ady Gil (Earthrace).

    As much as I stretch my brain I cannot get my head around that justification.

  3. Shona 3

    This is one issue that is being closely followed across the ditch by the hoards of young 20 something kiwis who’ve gone there to work in the last 2 years.
    Couldn’t agree more about Bethune as a role model his actions mean a great deal more than any member of this Nact govt will ever be able to perceive. He is paying a high price but his actions are a wake up call for this young generation.
    Will forward this link to my offspring doing their time in ozzie’s functional economy.

    • Thanks Shona.
      The Aussie media, particularly the Sydney Morning Herald have done a lot more to raise public awareness about this disgrace than our own chickenshit msm – but that’s another story.

  4. Anne 4

    How many times over the decades have National governments ignored and ridiculed thousands of NZ protesters (not to mention their millions of counterparts overseas) only to flip-flop years later when the protesters were proven to be right. Vietnam… sporting contact with apartheid Sth.Africa… anti-nuclear sentiments… man-made contribution to global warming… massive environmental exploitation and wholesale slaughter of whales largely by the Japanese. These are the ones that spring immediately to mind.

    What’s the bet that at some point in the future when Peter Bethune becomes an international hero (and it will happen), a Nat. administration will claim the credit!

  5. h1 5

    It will raise many old animosities with older voters…..

    They will be remembered.

  6. john 6

    Seashepherd is doing what the Australian and New Zealand Navy should be doing, which is frustrating and harassing the illegal, commercial whaling of the Japanese. They have ,with the extra ship the Bob Barker reduced the Japanese catch to 500+ instead of 1000,this is a victory! It’s about time both Governments got off their bureaucratic chuffs. I vote Captain Paul Watson be placed in command of the intervention conservation force to end Japanese Whaling once and for all!

    The Kiwi spokesman for Japanese Whaling interests, Glenn Inwood acknowledged that Seashepherd’s harassment had lost the Japanese about a month of butchering time for their abattoir.

    Peter Bethune is a hero, a very brave man.

  7. Pundit X 7

    We can’t expect action from the Nats on this issue but there is plenty of scope for a boycott of Japanes goods campaign. An awful lot of Kiwi dollars find there way back to Japan..

  8. pmofnz 8

    Bethune a hero? Nothing but a maritime terrorist from where I sit. He deserves everything coming to him.

    • and where do you sit, Tokyo perhaps?

      • pmofnz 8.1.1

        I sit in NZ. You see things differently to myself.

        taken from yours below, but altered.

        Personally I think what Bethune did is not in my interests as a New Zealander. From what I’ve seen to date he deliberately placed his boat in the path of much larger ship which subsequently was left with no chance of avoiding a collision. So ended a programme of non-stop harrassment of a legal fishing operation on the high seas.

        I think defending him is not my interests as a New Zealander.

        Bethune’s actions were not acts of principle but of maritime piracy and he should not be able to expect the support of his Government. The Japanese apparently also have this view, having in my opinion rightly arrested him. I look forward to him being dealt with the full force of international maritime law.

        • the sprout 8.1.1.1

          What wonderfully formal prose there pmofnz, well done. I doubt you do sit in NZ but from any angle, if you really believe the Shonan Maru II “was left with no chance of avoiding collison” (exactly as the Japanese are saying), you really should see the video, and perhaps an optometrist. The rate of lateral rotation in the video taken from the SM shows it was not under the influence of swell but is capable of a high turn rate and is a very nimble ship. You are either willingly lying or have naively swallowed a huge gob of Japanese propaganda.

          But regardless of your deficiencies in that respect, could you please explain how hoping the crooked Japanese legal system prosecutes an heroic New Zealand citizen is in your interests?

          • pmofnz 8.1.1.1.1

            To date I have not ingested any Jap propaganda or told any lies on the matter, with the videos released at the time clearly showing Bethune’s chilly bin turning in under the bow of the Japanese ship, failing to avoid collision on the high seas. Which was subsequently followed by a piratical boarding of the same ship a day later.

            No deficiencies in my observations, but I am glad the intricacies of such matters are to be decided in a court of law, be it Japanese or otherwise, not in this kangaroo court.

            • the sprout 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Could you answer my question about how hoping the crooked Japanese legal system prosecutes an heroic New Zealand citizen is in your interests?

            • RedLogix 8.1.1.1.1.2

              with the videos released at the time clearly showing Bethune’s chilly bin turning in under the bow of the Japanese ship, failing to avoid collision on the high seas.

              Progandista lies.

              The Jap whaler was the vessel fully underway and the one with full steerage. By contrast AdyGil had been idling until moments before collision, while at the same time the whalers were directing high pressure hoses on open cockpit of the protestors limiting their visibility and momentarily covering the whaler’s intentions.

              The whaler clearly turns into the AdyGil forcing that boat to accelerate from a low speed with limited steerage and having basically nowhere to go to avoid a collision.

              • John Welker

                The Ady Gil can probably go faster in reverse than the SM2 can go forward the AG also has twin screws it can turn on a dime. The collision was due to an untrained last minute replacement helmsman who played too close to the tiger’s cage. That is why the New Zealand government isn’t using the crash investigation against Japan because they can’t. The Kiwis remember the days of illegal harassment Bethune caused before he crashed his boat. If the AG was running out of fuel why was it going away from its refueling vessel the Bob Barker? The AG put itself in a position of being blinded by high pressure hoses. It has been weeks since the SSCS’s US lawyer made a very empty threat that Australia “may” sue the Japanese for the loss of the Ady Gil. The press release said “may” because they know they don’t have any recourse beyond spamming the internet with their BS.

              • RedLogix

                The Ady Gil can probably go faster in reverse than the SM2 can go forward the AG also has twin screws it can turn on a dime. The collision was due to an untrained last minute replacement helmsman who played too close to the tiger’s cage.

                More deceptive lies .. how deeply dishonest and vile can you paid PR hacks go? Any actual evidence for this shit? Or did you just make it up? The AG was designed to for a high speed ’round the world’ record attempt; necessarily this sort of design has limited low speed manouverability, otherwise it would have been hopelessly unstable at high speeds. Twin screws in themselves don’t mean much unless they are widely spaced; nor is it necessarily easy to flick from forward to reverse gears unless the vessel has come to a stop already.

                The AG put itself in a position of being blinded by high pressure hoses.

                And who turned the hoses on at exactly the moment they were turning onto the AG? You creeps disgust me with your endless paid for lies.

              • Fantastic arrogance to assert the Ady Gil was in the wrong in light of the video evidence.
                I suppose PR hacks know, like Goebbels did, that if a lie is repeated often enough some will believe.
                Repeating lies for money is their stock and trade.

              • John Welker

                I don’t need any proof there is no official report placing the blame on the Japanese. NOBODY is taking the Japanese to trial, not even the SSCS is regardless of their empty “maybe” threats to the contrary. If I were Japan I’d ignore any monetary claims the SSCS made it is a favorite tactic of the SSCS. They refused to pay the $45,000 fine levied against their crew in Canada. Not only that but they abandoned the contaminated vessel Sea Shepherd II in Barclay sound Canada because they didn’t want to pay what they considered unfair berthing fees. Here are pictures of the SSCS vessel “Sea Shepherd II” rotting away in Robbers Passage Barclay sound before it was properly disposed of by the locals.

                http://bcmarina.com/Places/Robbers_Pass nails.html

                According to the SSCS disinformation site they dismantled most of the equipment themselves, and then “sold” the hull but that isn’t true

                http://www.sqwalk.com/docs/BCsHarbourHu tOct09.pdf

                Sea Shepherd II
                In April 2004, the MV Sea Shepherd II, located in Robbers Pass, Tzartus Island [also in Barkley Sound], was in a derelict state and in danger of sinking. By May 11, 2004, 188 tonnes of a mixture of waste oil and diesel was pumped off the Sea Shepherd II, but some 16 gallons per hour of seawater was leaking back into the vessel. On May 26, 2004, the vessel was taken in tow, arriving at the Esquimalt graving dock the next day for break up. By June 17, 2004, seven large waste bins of oiled debris had been removed from the vessel. By July 30, 2004, the break up of the vessel had been completed. Cost to SOPF: $331,892.31 plus interest

                Watson doesn’t really care about the environment he cares about donations he’s more than happy to sink vessels and put the names on a T-shit to brag about it, he also abandons vessels without regard to the pollution it causes. The SSCS isn’t going to get a whole lot of sympathy with their unspun history hits the courts. Why are the anti-whaling nations of the IWC seeking a commercial compromise I thought Buffoon’s antics were supposed to put whaling on trial?

                The Ady Gil made a big point of saying they were running out of fuel right before the collision but they were traveling away from the Bob Barker which is their refueling vessel that filmed the staged stunt. You can plainly see in the film that the Ady Gil is traveling in the absolute wrong direction for a refueling operation but it was traveling in a perfect direction for staged stunt filming.

                Here’s a video of the Ady Gil turning on a dime at the 34 second mark had the inexperienced helmsman preformed this maneuver and motored to the BB for refueling operations Watson wouldn’t have had a fund raising film for fools.

        • RedLogix 8.1.1.2

          Bethune’s actions were not acts of principle but of maritime piracy

          The same brain-dead sneer used to shut down people pushing for change since time began. What was the motivation here? Piracy for personal gain? Hijacking Japanese whaling ships and towing them off to Asia for breakdown scrap? Waiting until their holds were full of nice juicy whale steaks then capturing them for re-sale to fancy LA resteraunts? Capturing the crew and demanding ransoms?

          Nah these guys are down then risking their lives in freezing waters making a stand for the right of another sentinent species to exist outside of the endless cycles of human greed and exploitation. They stand to gain very little for themselves personally, other than the satisfaction of knowing that they have put their nuts on the line for what they truly believe in. What’s more a belief shared by a majority of New Zealanders, and nominally the official policy of our govt.

          That’s not piracy, it’s protest.

          • pmofnz 8.1.1.2.1

            Piracy – An official policy of the government?

            In my book, interfering with the legitimate operations of a ship on the high seas is nothing but piracy.

            You may legitimise it as protest, I see it as nothing short of lunacy in that environment which should be fully dealt with as piracy under international maritime law.

            • john 8.1.1.2.1.1

              In reply to pmofnz refer other posting it’s clear Japanese whaling operations are not “legitimate” they are breaking numerous conservation laws. They are the Pirates, piracy defined as to pillage and take that which is not yours in defiance of civilised conventions seeking to conserve endangered species. Also what about our cultural sensitivities against whale slaughter that doesn’t count!

            • felix 8.1.1.2.1.2

              And what, pray tell, are these “legitimate operations” you speak of?

              Have I missed something? Are they doing something other than poaching whales in a sanctuary?

              edit: ditto john

            • RedLogix 8.1.1.2.1.3

              If all you can do is twist my words into a grotesque lie then you’ve lost the argument. Of course piracy isn’t an ‘official policy of the government’… obviously I was referring to NZ’s official position that whaling should be ended.

              But if that’s how you can distort a bleedingly obvious point like that, then the subtleties of how boats move on the open ocean will be entirely lost on you.

              As for ‘interferring with the legitimate operation of a ship’ then I guess the anti-nuclear protestors who paddled kayaks in front of US warships entering Auckland harbour years ago were also pirates. Almost all effective protest involves some form of technical breach of law; the argument that all protest is therefore morally wrong is simply the standard authoritarian’s means of shutting down change.

            • Dave Head 8.1.1.2.1.4

              pmofnz- Not employed by Glenn Inwood by any chance. Perhaps you might like to comments on this summary of some of Japans illegal acts?
              Japan’s continued and expanded program of scientific whaling is inconsistent
              with its obligations under the Law of the Sea Convention, the International
              Convention for the Regulation of Whaling Convention, the Convention on the
              Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), and the
              Convention on Biological Diversity to protect and preserve the marine
              environment, to protect rare and fragile ecosystems and endangered species,
              to prepare environmental impact assessments when changes to the marine
              environment are likely to be caused by its activities, and to refrain from
              claiming resources under the guise of marine scientific research. This program is not legitimately “scientific” because it has not been peer-reviewed and does not have precise quantifiable goals. It is inconsistent with Japan’s obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity because reduces the sustainability of whale species and has “adverse impacts on biological diversity.” It is unquestionably an abuse of right because it invokes Article VIII of the Whaling Convention in a manner that certainly was unanticipated by the framers of the Convention and has
              been repeatedly condemned by the majority of the other contracting parties
              to the Convention.

              So in the absence of Government action the SSCS trys to uphold international law. That,according to legal experts, does not consitute piracy.

        • john 8.1.1.3

          The situation with Japanese whaling is quite simply that the activities of the Japanese whaling fleet are illegal under International Conservation Law.Japanese whalers are targetting protected and endangered whales in an established International Whale Sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling. In doing so they are in violation of the regulations of the INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION (IWC), the CONVENTION ON THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES (CITES), and the ANTARCTIC TREATY which specifically prohibits commercial activity in Antarctic waters .The refuelling of the whaling ships south of 60 degrees is also a violation of the ANTARCTIC TREATY. In addition the Japanese whalers are in contempt of a FEDERAL AUSTRALIAN COURT ruling that in January 2008 specifically prohibited whaling activities in the AUSTRALIAN ANTARCTIC TERRITORY.

          Japanese claims they are doing research “whaling” are bogus. This so called research began in 1986, the year the commercial moratorium was imposed. There is no provision to do research “whaling” in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the Japanese whalers have not been given CITES permits to kill endangered Fin or Humpback whales.

          Peter Bethune was intervening in accordance with the principles of the UN World Charter for nature , ratified by the General Assembly in 1982 that allows NGOs to uphold International Conservation Law.

          Clearly it is the Japanese whalers who are performing eco-terrorism for profit and piracy against protected sanctuaries and species.

          Japan is also ruthlessly gutting fish stocks World Wide and pushing the blue Fin Tuna towards extinction refer this link
          http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/28-6

          reply to pmofns

          • john 8.1.1.3.1

            http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/28-6

            Viewing the first comment to this link ,Incredibly OBaaaaMaaaa is cuddling up to the Japs on a resumption of commercial whaling. That no doubt is why John Key’s Government has changed its tune ’cause The Big Man has: Barack. The US has more influence on us than Australia? Is John Key a de facto American citizen?

          • John Welker 8.1.1.3.2

            The IWC and Scientific Permits

            GENERAL

            A major area of discussion in recent years has been the issuing of permits by member states for the killing of whales for scientific purposes. The use of such permits is not new. The right to issue them is enshrined in Article VIII of the 1946 Convention. Whilst member nations must submit proposals for review, in accordance with the Convention, it is the member nation that ultimately decides whether or not to issue a permit, and this right overrides any other Commission regulations including the moratorium MORATORIUM and SANCTUARIES. Article VIII also requires that the animals be utilised once the scientific data have been collected.

            Prior to 1982, when it was agreed that a moratorium would come into effect in 1986, over 100 permits were issued by a number of governments including Canada, USA, USSR, South Africa and Japan.

            http://iwcoffice.org/conservation/permits.htm

            Any Party (member State) of CITES may make a unilateral statement that it will not be bound by the provisions of the Convention relating to trade in a particular species listed in the Appendices (or in a part or derivative listed in Appendix III). These statements are called reservations and may be made in accordance with Articles XV, XVI and XXIII of the Convention.

            Recognized Reservations

            Antarctic Minke
            Balaenoptera bonaerensis

            Iceland 02/04/2000
            Japan 01/01/1986
            Norway 01/01/1986

            Please note Japan has had a reservation for all 24 years of the Global Moratorium on Whaling.

            Antarctic Fin Whale
            Balaenoptera physalus
            Iceland 02/04/2000
            Japan 06/06/1981

            Please not that Japan has a reservation that was recognized before the Global Moratorium was even voted on.

            http://www.cites.org/eng/app/reserve_index.shtml

            The Antarctic Treaty doesn’t exclude RESEARCH Australia’s court decision only apply to the 4 nations that recognize their Antarctic claims Japan isn’t one of them.

            The UNCN doesn’t confer enforcement powers if it did they would be enumerated but it isn’t

            21. States and, to the extent they are able, other public authorities,
            international organizations, individuals, groups and corporations shall:

            (a) Co-operate in the task of conserving nature through common
            activities and other relevant actions, including information exchange and
            consultations;

            (b) Establish standards for products and manufacturing processes that
            may have adverse effects on nature, as well as agreed methodologies for
            assessing these effects;

            (c) Implement the applicable international legal provisions for the
            conservation of nature and the protection of the environment;

            (d) Ensure that activities within their jurisdictions or control do not
            cause damage to the natural systems located within other States or in the
            areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction;

            (e) Safeguard and conserve nature in areas beyond national jurisdiction

            Out of all of these provisions, none of them advocate taking the law into your own hands. It also doesn’t condone attacks, harassment or violence. It allows for you to engage in the discussion, setting of standards for practice, and conserving nature. The line “To the extent you are able” has been agreed upon by several legal experts to mean “Within the law.” Sea Shepherd acts outside the law, hiding behind this article as their justification.

            24. Each person has a duty to act in accordance with the provisions of
            the present Charter; acting individually, in association with others or
            through participation in the political process, each person shall strive to
            ensure that the objectives and requirements of the present Charter are met.

            To act “THROUGH PARTICIPATION IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS.” This means that they are to act in a diplomatic fashion, NOT in a violent, aggressive fashion. Again, Watson FAILS.

            [lprent: I’ll let this through despite the fact it looks like copy/paste where it should have been simply commented and linked. I nuked another comment that was a duplicate of the first part.

            I really wish that the PR and lobbyist dickheads (which is what you read like) would learn that relevant comments are better than simple verbiage. ]

            • felix 8.1.1.3.2.1

              The Antarctic Treaty doesn’t exclude RESEARCH

              So what? They aren’t doing RESEARCH and you just lost any credibility you might have had by suggesting so.

              Nice new name btw.

            • john 8.1.1.3.2.2

              Reply to John Welker: It’s obvious to the “common sense” of the vast majority of people that to do research does not require slaughtering up to a 1000 whales per year on an Industrial scale and storing the meat in Warehouses in Japan. Also the selling of the same meat. It follows from this simple intelligent observation,rather than the doublespeak gobbydegook rubbish Japan’s Whalers spout, that Japan is doing illegal commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean. Japan is an eco-outlaw which has only contempt for any effort to conserve our Oceans by treaty and convention.It is also obvious to simple intelligence and “common sense” viewing videos that the Ady Gil was deliberately rammed.

              Common Sense refutes your extended screed which has about as much significance as Japanese Commercial Whalers having the word RESEARCH on the side of their killer ships.

              • Perhaps, when the Shonan Maru II mowed down the Ady Gil and tried to murder its crew, it was just doing ‘research’ then too?

  9. tsmithfield 9

    1. Bethune would have known the consequences of his actions.
    2. He was prepared to take these actions to publicize his cause, for which he obviously wants to be a martyr.
    3. Why should anyone or any government take that away from him?

    • so by your reasoning tsmithfield, i suppose any NZ soldiers serving abroad should not expect any help from this Government either, right? serves them right for doing something they believed was the right thing to do when really the only right thing to do by Key’s limited logic is to make a profit. nothing else matters. our soldiers too would know the consequences of their actions when they went abroad, so it wouldn’t matter if they were imprisoned on false charges or for doing something within their rights to do, like seeking redress for someone trying to murder your crew.

      it’s of little matter anyway, the consequences to this government of leaving Bethune out to dry will be severe.

      • tsmithfield 9.1.1

        The key difference here is that NZ soldiers would be acting with the approval of the NZ Government in the first place. Also, I doubt that NZ soldiers would do something as foolhardy as having one of its own board an enemy ship and try to arrest the captain.

        • mickysavage 9.1.1.1

          What about the Japanese deliberately sinking a New Zealand flagged boat and threatening the lives of kiwis. Should we be happy that our Government is doing nothing and is sitting idly by?

          No wonder Bethune has felt compelled to act in the way that he did.

        • the sprout 9.1.1.2

          ts:

          True, but can you only expect support from your government if you are acting in their interests?
          Personally I think what Bethune did is in my interests as a New Zealander.
          I think defending him is also in my interests as a New Zealander.

          Bethune’s actions might not be in the interests of some Japanese fishing corporations, but they are acts of principle and he should be able to expect the support of his Government.

          • Jared 9.1.1.2.1

            Luckily the NZ Government doesn’t make haphazard decisions on the merit of a minority of citizens. There were plenty of things the Labour Government did that was not in my interests as a New Zealander. But of course you are conveniently forgetting the only viable option in this war is a diplomatic approach. Australia is threatening legal action, but I hardly think anything will come of it, I doubt they will even lodge proceedings.
            Make no mistake however, I do support SeaShepherd and their actions, but they knew the risks, and whilst I support them, I know that what they are doing while morally right, is legally wrong. And thats something that can’t be ignored.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    Further to my comment above:

    Assuming the government somehow interferes with Japans legal system (something we wouldn’t tolerate if the roles were reversed) and gets Bethune out of jail, he will most likely go and pull another equally lunatic stunt and require rescuing all over again.

    To save the needless expense of ongoing Bethune rescues, why not just leave him where he is, let him go through due process, and be the focus for protests against whaling. I am sure the Japanese will be very aware of this possibility and won’t want to create a martyr focus to engender even greater protests against whaling.

  11. Rex Widerstrom 11

    The problem is surely, as tsmithfield alludes to above, that modern diplomacy has a rule that one country never intereferes in the judicial system of another, no matter how unfair or barbaric that system may be?

    So we’ve seen Australia (which surely has more international clout than NZ):

    – Make little more than disapproving noises while a citizen was executed in Singapore.

    – “Plead for clemency” for the members of the “Bali 9” facing death, but nothing stronger.

    – Stand by while an Australian, Schapelle Corby, is jailed for 20 years by Indonesia for a drug offence that would likely have got her a couple of years at most back home, and over which there are grave doubts as to her guilt.

    – Sit on its hands for nearly a decade leaving Holly Deanne-Johns in a Thai jail facing a 31 year sentence, then finally brings her home but only after agreeing to imprison her for at least another five years.

    …and so on. Personally I think it’s a gutless “tradition” that abrogate’s a government’s most important responsibility – to protect its citizens – usually for the sake of trade (but by no means only for that reason – Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand are hardly huge trading partners of Australia, and Indonesia’s economy benefits hugely from Australians heading to Bali on holiday).

    It’s wrong, it’s cowardly, but you can’t blame the Key government for behaving this way. It’s apparently called “diplomacy”, and presumably if we stood up for our citizens overseas then the “civilised” nations who make up the UN would deem us a “rogue state” or suchlike.

    • the sprout 11.1

      I appreciate that Rex, but:

      1. Bethune is not a drug runner, his act of boarding the Shonan Maru II to make a citizen’s arrest of a captain that tried to murder his crew was, at the very least arguably, within his rights and may even have been a duty.

      2. Even in the case of the aforementioned drug-runners the Australian government made some representation on behalf of its citizens. Ours haven’t made a peep. If anything McCully’s comments seemed like an attempt to help the Japanese convict a New Zealand citizen (although with a 95% conviction rate I figure they won’t need much help).

      3. While I have a smidgen of understanding around the dictates and requirements of diplomacy, a real-politiker like yourself would appreciate that governments do get involved in such affairs on a regular basis, particularly when they have the foresight to appreciate that not doing so will buy them a whole pile of domestic strife.

      • Rex Widerstrom 11.1.1

        Sprout:

        This is one of those “debates” where we’re fundamentally in agreement, I think. But…

        1. The crime shouldn’t be a factor, it’s the inhumanity of the punishments and / or the dubious nature of the court system (it’ll be interesting to see what Australia does about Stern Hu, the Rio Tinto executive and Australian citizen tried behind closed doors in China and sentenced to 15 years for “industrial espionage”. Australia coughed politely and China responded by trying to organise a worldwide boycott of Australian iron ore. Haven’t heard a thing since). Schapelle Corby is “arguably” not a drug runner at all and certainly wouldn’t have been found guilty in an Australia court based on the evidence presented (or rather, not presented… things like the palstic wrap which held the marijuana having disappeared before it could be fingerprinted).

        2. Granted… though I wonder whether politely saying “Excuse me, that’s a bit rough” and being contemptuously ignored or having your ass kicked by someone like China isn’t less effective than saying nothing. (Note that, as per my comment above, I’m not advocating a do nothing approach).

        3. Government do sometimes “get involved” but usually with little success and usually, it seems to me, purely as a gesture for domestic consumption. Charitably, McCully may have decided he’s not going to demean himself by saying something, only to be told to STFU by the Japanese.

        It is grossly unfair that citizens of these regimes get the benefit of Western law and justice (with its emphasis on fairness and rehabilitation) when arrested in a Western country, yet our citizens are imprisoned for intolerably long times, or slaughtered, by those same regimes.

        I find it ironic that most Western governments make more noise – especially at the UN, with sanctions, resolutions etc – about what some countries do to their own citizens than about what others do to ours.

        • the sprout 11.1.1.1

          eminently reasonable as ever. i think we may be in agreement, i wouldn’t disagree with your points. except perhaps to say that considering the extent to which mccully has already demeaned himself, why should he stop now?

  12. Darien 12

    At the very least, you would think McCully would be taking an active interest in a constituent of his – Pete lives in East Coast Bays.

  13. Viv Goldsmith 13

    Peter is standing up for a long tradition of anti whaling demonstrations based on New Zealand’s stance against Whaling. It is on the same scale as anti nuclear protests against France which in the end were supported by a NZ frigate.Peter was seen as an excellent photo opp for Don Brash when he was running for election in 2005.(remember the walk the plank shots,that was on “Earth Race”)Peter was seen as a New Zealand Hero by national then,What has changed?Peter lives in McCully’s electorate
    and built his boat in Mr Keys electorate. He is a man of principle and should be supported for his endeavor to stop the abuse of the loophole allowing whaling in OUR southern waters.
    It falls on us to stand up for Peter and I will be raising this issue with others this week.
    If this National government is willing to hang Peter Bethune out to dry, I for one am not.

    • John Welker 13.1

      In 2005 the Earth Race hadn’t killed anyone yet questing for a ridiculous accolades and Bethune wasn’t a criminal yet. What has changed is that Bethune knowingly broke the law by boarding a foreign flagged vessel in international waters. The SSCS is trying to push the NZ government into diplomatic row and the government understands this it isn’t the least bit surprising they don’t want to encourage foolish behavior in the future.

  14. lprent 14

    Great post sprout… I’ll have a think about how I can help.

  15. tsmithfield 15

    The question no-one seems to have asked here is whether Bethune wants to be rescued. To do what he did he is either a mad-man or very strategic in his objectives. If he is the former, then I would prefer he stays in Japan. If he is the latter, then his purposes are probably being served just fine at the moment. In that case, we should let him get on with it.

  16. barry 16

    While I agree with much of what Sea Shepherd do, I can’t agree with the racism evident in this post. Linking current events to second world war animosities is hardly advancing the cause. It might get you sympathy in NZ, but is going to alienate Japanese potential supporters.

    • the sprout 16.1

      Nothing racist about my post barry, but don’t you think it’s fair to say that having an esteemed New Zealander held as an essentially political prisoner in a Japanese jail for trying to save whales from illegal harpooning has a lot of potential to stir animosities? Do you think I shouldn’t mention that?

      • barry 16.1.1

        Then why use that flag? You (and Sea Shepherd elsewhere) are linking Bethune’s detention now, to WWII. It is at least dogwhistling.

        I think that there is a large section of Japanese society that could be sympathetic to the anti-whaling message. You should be reaching out to them by making it clear that it is the whalers and their political backers that are the target, not Japanese people in general.

  17. OliverI 17

    Didn’t he mortgage his house to the tilt to pay for a boat in order to desert his family as he was only home 1 in the last 5 years, end up crashing it and killing someone and paying damages, and then throwing acid at the Japanese? NZ Hero – yeah right!

  18. Anne 18

    Who is the plonker fortinet? OliverI or Peter Bethune? If it’s the latter then you are the plonker!

  19. Geo 19

    So lets see.Earth race crashes into a fiberglass canoe,at night,no lights ,crew asleep.They stop and look for the crew.Cant find one but give treatment to others,Take them to a naval base and stay to face the local police.
    What else would you have them do???
    Peter is married and when national was singing his praises for his record achievements was supported by his family and wife and still is.
    Unlike Don brash or Rodney Hide.
    Butyric acid is a non-corrosive substance and smells like rancid butter.(in fact made from butter)
    It has been used by demonstrators in the USA and other protests.
    It causes no harm but stinks.

    And Yes he is a NZ hero.
    Taking on a practice that he and I feel strongly about.
    THE ILLEGAL KILLING OF WHALES FOR SALE.
    What do you support and how far will you go to achieve what you think is right?
    If my son has half the guts of Peter Bethune I will be well proud.
    As for our government.
    What a bunch of useless jerks.
    “Smile and Wave” & “Mr Invisible ” in a do nothing stance as usual.

  20. OliverI 20

    He had to pay damages to his victim – that infers guilt…

    The IWC has put a fantastic proposal forward that should achieve real results. What did labour do? did whaled numbers increase or decrease under them?

    All Peter has achieved is make NZ look like a bunch of pirates.

  21. Geo 21

    Some facts in isolation are not a true portrayal of the actual situation.
    That is why you are a plonker.

  22. check out this fckd-up site currently feeding to this post from a closed forum discussion

    http://endecoterrorism.com/

  23. OliverI 23

    Did whaling increase or decrease under Labour? what did they do about it? Greenpeace sure don’t like Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd, S.S. takes pride in sinking Japanese boats and using violence.

    “Some facts in isolation are not a true portrayal of the actual situation.” Hahaha 😛 Like The Standard always gives all the facts in a fair and balanced way and doesn’t portray with biased in particular situations? Are they plonkers for doing so?

  24. Patrick 24

    While I am outraged at the treatment of Bethune by the Japanese government, I am angry at the silly nationalism of this post.

    Bethune is not a prisoner ‘of the Japanese’, he is a prisoner of the Japanese state. The Japanese state and the Japanese people are different.

    Idiotic nationalism may appeal to some New Zealanders who think we are still at war with Japan but it just puts off normal Japanese people and kiwis who realise that the Japanese government is the problem here, not ordinary Japanese people.

    Stop trying to appeal to the lowest racist common denominator. That is what Don Brash did and it turned out horrible.

    • the sprout 24.1

      fair point. please read all references to ‘Japanese’ in the above post as ‘the Japanese State and associated commercial fishing interests’.

  25. Rob A 25

    Oh please, he’s not a hero. He’s an idiot who is getting exactly what he wanted.

    • Geo 25.1

      And you know Peter how??
      And understand what he wants??
      Have talked to him??
      Or is it just you support Mr Key in his endeavor to do nothing.

    • OliverI 25.2

      Probably the perspective of most NZers…

  26. Anne 26

    fortinet
    18 April at 8.14pm

    Gee, glad to hear that fortinet.
    Take back what I said 😀

  27. OliverI 27

    Geo – Did whaling increase or decrease under Labour? You keep on talking about how Key has done nothing – even though his foreign Minister is in talks with the IWC through Sir Geoffrey Palmer to actually do something about whaling. I was just interested if you would reserve the same attack on labour for their increase in whaled numbers?

  28. Geo 28

    The question is do you support a New Zealander who is following in a tradition of anti whaling that has been a part of New Zealand’s Tradition.
    If a tactic is not working do you give up your principles or do you continue the truth of your message.
    National has been against the nuclear free stance of New Zealand and yet will now take the accolade.
    Who is the harlot?
    I am unsure of whether the anti whaling stance increased or decreased the slaughter under labour.
    I am sure that we gave a clear message as to what is right.
    WHALING SHOULD BE STOPPED!
    The message from national is foggy at best and has not saved one whale.
    The actions of Peter Bethune have achieved what you want to happen.
    If that is the case why don’t you support him?

  29. OliverI 29

    I do not support him for the same reason Greenpeace don’t support the Sea Shepherd – the end doesn’t justify the means, and his means have a more than subtle hint of piracy.

    National are working constructively with the IWC on their proposal to decrease whaled numbers. There is a great audio interview here…

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1004/S00004.htm

    sprout: ollie the only reason you don’t support Bethune is that while National once tried to ride on his coat tails, he is now making National look like a pack of arseholes. i don’t think that’s the same reason why Greenpeace don’t support SSCS

    • the sprout 29.1

      Isn’t it well past your bed time Oliver?
      The Mr Key poster on your ceiling will still be there in the morning.
      Night night

      • OliverI 29.1.1

        Wow direct attack on the person rather than the argument.

        What a profound and pragmatic way of disseminating the point I made that even Greenpeace don’t support the Sea Shepherd.

        sprout: i got the impression from your comments that you had no interest in addressing the arguments. that, and you are indeed a boorish plonker. so it’s good night to you then ollie

  30. Geo 30

    If your stance is to decriminalize an act in order to decrease an illegal action I hope to see you supporting the decriminalization of marijuana in New Zealand.
    How can it be right to support an action that you hold to be wrong.
    National is being a harlot, prostituting our beliefs to achieve an end that would make an illegal act legal.
    I for one would not support that stance.
    It gives the wrong message.
    We Want WHALING TO STOP!!!

  31. OliverI 31

    Well, Sir Geoffrey Palmer considers it the best way forward in order to save whales. He is an expert with a lot of international political experience. I suggest that it is the best option on the table I would be more than happy to banter about the best approach to reducing whaling, I don’t appreciate personal attacks because I support a different approach to reaching the same result.

    [lprent: Looking at your comments, it looks to me like you’re acting like a kiddie style troll (I suspect that the sprout is right about your mental age, but probably not your physical age).

    If you want ‘personal’ attacks I’m perfectly happy to educate you about what they really are like. Of course I suspect that I’ll have to drop my standards down to something you can comprehend. But I like to play with my food, even if it is of a low standard.

    Adding you to auto-moderation for a while to dissect. However you should have a close look at the policy to find out how not to attract my attention. Doing idiotic comments without any significant argument in them isn’t one, nor is bombarding a posts thread with many of the same. ]

    • Marty G 31.1

      “Well, Sir Geoffrey Palmer considers it the best way forward in order to save whales. He is an expert with a lot of international political experience”

      the other international experts disagree. Hmm, who to trust? The guy employed by the National Party, which has never really supported the whaling ban, or the experts on preventing whaling?

  32. Armchair Critic 32

    OliverI at 9:51 – ” I suggest that it is the best option on the table ”
    I suggest that if this is the best option on the table then the other options must be fucking awful.
    How about an option that involves actively avoiding killing whales? That would involve the death of a lot less whales than any plans that includes killing whales.
    My boycott of all things Japanese continues. Feel free to join the boycott. In fact, I don’t see why the Japanese rugby team should be welcome for the RWC next year.
    Pete Bethune is a freedom fighter, not a pirate or a terrorist!!!

  33. infused 33

    He asked for it, and he got it. Meh.

  34. Lizzy 34

    This is simply fixed. Just freeze all Japanese assets held in NZ or Nationalise them. It’d be nice to get back what lies within CHCHs 4 avenues. And issue a fatwa – one Jap goes down for each whale killed. Howdare they conduct such evil work, it’s like homicide x 10 each time a whale is killed so actually the Fatwa should say 10 Japs for each whale. Well some consequence to them eg deportation from civilised countries.

    • lprent 34.1

      I sincerely hope that you’re taking the piss….

    • John Welker 34.2

      “Simple Fix” ? That’s a very apt term. You can’t even get the government to support one lone criminal’s actions and you expect to magically freeze Japanese assets and execute people. Who’s going to issue your Fatawa Paul Watson? Your “killing humans to save animals” government would find itself in the same diplomatic situation as North Korea. If your movement had the power to do any of the stuff you mention it would have been done years ago. I almost hope some nutter follows through on your murderous suggestion because then you’d find out just how powerless your movement actually is in the face of an intense police murder investigation.

  35. pmofnz 35

    Isn’t it funny how a conversation with the left brings out the rabid ferals.

    • the sprout 35.1

      hey lighten up PM of NZ, you’re being too hard on yourself!
      you obviously have delusions of grandeur (which could come from rabies although is more likely part of a personality disorder) but you don’t seem that feral – on the contrary you seem a very tame apologist.

  36. Scott 36

    When I read the Japanese have isolation cells 1 meter square where prisoners are placed for days on end for as little as speaking during the day I wonder why Pete’s case is also not a human rights issue in NZ.

    Scott

    • pollywog 36.1

      If i was extremely inclined to act on Sea Shepherds beliefs. I’d be staging a “kidnapping” of a compliant japanese anti whaling sympathizer and making some “demands” as a means of publicising Bethunes plight and taking the fight to the next media manipulating propaganda level.

      Nothing like seeing an orange overalled “captive” in a cell pleading for a political exchange of sorts to ratchet things up in the public consciousness.

      Seems to be quite the media trick these days to fake protests.

  37. grumpy 37

    Great post Sprout.

    Long overdue, perhaps the MSM and the Government might do something before they drag him out and chop off his head?

    You are right – he is a hero.

  38. David M 38

    It’s pretty low that all opposing debate is childishly dismissed and then censored, followed by personal attacks.

    @Sprout, you’re coming across very uneducated and childish, you’ve made less attempt at making constructive comments and encouraging open discussion than Oliver I by a long shot.

  39. the sprout 39

    try reading the numerous comments addressed to you above

  40. Gazza 40

    Maybe NZ should do the same as Japan, any Jap arrested in NZ should be charged to the full extent of our laws and be locked up and the keys thrown away until Bethune is set free.
    But this would never happen as every one from govt down to prosecutors have got no balls, especially the Govt who are under the spell of the mighty Japanese Empire.

  41. RobertM 42

    Well quite obviously, Bethune correctly calculated that the Japanese would ship him back to Japan and conduct a show trial in a kangaroo court, it should do oddles of damage to Japanese and whaling interests. Japans whaling and predatory fishing will only be stoped and managed in the case of fishing if a permanent NZ and Aus patrol force polices the Southern Ocean as a controlled zone south of Australia and NZ. Palmers weak proposal to impose a quota on whale killing instead of a ban is equally pointless unless its policed by a patrol force. International law only has strength as far as its enforceable.Sustainability justifies Sea Shepherds action and Australia goin gto the world court.

    • John Welker 42.1

      Are you high? Why is there even a meager effort to have Bethune released? Bethune’s 5 count indictment is scheduled for 2 days with a third held in reserve in case the trial runs long. That’s hardly much of a show. This isn’t going to be an OJ Simpson trial it is a simple criminal trial in which the defendant has admitted to many of the crimes and none of them involve Japanese whale research.

      Australia and New Zealand are already too busy patrolling their waters for actual poachers they know they don’t have the legal right to interfere with IWC sanctioned scientific research in the Antarctic. International law doesn’t recognize NZ and AU’s Antarctic claims as a matter of fact only two other nations recognize these claims Unfortunately Japan isn’t one of them. If Australia takes the matter to court they have already been told they’ll lose because almost no one supports their Antarctic claims. The SSCS has screwed themselves with their ill conceived operation NZ Bethune’s conviction is only going to speed the Dutch deflagging Watson’s last ship.

  42. john 43

    I truly think the Australian and NZ Governments are cowards. It’s time to get arrogant scum like these Japs run out of the Southern Ocean. So we don’t have the likes of John Welker spouting his rubbish. Send the navy down there,Most of the World will support us in kicking out these pillaging pigs!

  43. john 44

    I guarantee you if we booted the Jap pirates out of the Southern Ocean ,They would quickly change their arrogant bullshit attitude to us. What they’re doing is commercial whaling not research.COMMERCIAL WHALING IS BANNED BY THE IWC.So come on Australia NZ get your show pony Navy geared up!

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