Crimes are being committed in the Southern Ocean by the idiot activists from Greenpeace and the creeps from the hardline Sea Shepherd group. It is obvious from the video footage available on the internet that members of these organisations are attempting to interfere with and endanger the ships in the Japanese whaling fleet.
No matter what your thoughts about whaling are, it is a legal activity and no less an authority than New Zealand's commissioner on the International Whaling Commission, former prime minister Geoffrey Palmer, has said there is no legal reason why the Japanese should be prevented from doing what they are doing.
If the screaming activists want to make a case against a nation hunting and gathering what it claims is a traditional food source, they could look to Canada, the Pacific North Coast of America, and the activities of some Scandinavian nations which also claim whaling as a traditional pastime.
Or they could stay even closer to home and make a fuss about those Aboriginal Australians who say they are engaging in traditional activities when they chase endangered dugong from boats equipped with their traditional high-speed outboards and shoot them with traditional high-powered rifles, or those who claim traditional rights to fish for abalone using their traditional goggles and traditional snorkels.
But it is easier for an international multinational corporation like Greenpeace to sucker sentimental media-types into believing that anthropomorphised whales are cosmically superior creatures and in greater need of protection.
Unfortunately, Greenpeace is notoriously prone to getting it massively wrong. Like the big lie it proclaimed in Victoria, where it scandalously forced a compliant Labor government to shut down the fertiliser company NuFarm after making false and damaging claims about the company's waste disposal systems. The episode, including the investigation which cleared NuFarm, cost Victorian taxpayers about $6 million and hundreds of jobs.
Or its scandalous campaign against the Shell oil company, in which Greenpeace's ecoterrorists misused measurements from an obsolete oil buoy, forcing the company to take the Brent Spar to a scenic Norwegian fjord rather than dump it safely at the bottom of an ocean trench.
However, interfering with shipping on the high seas, as Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd personnel are now doing, falls into a completely different category. These morons are now risking the lives of everyone concerned, the Japanese sailors and their own publicity-seeking activists, with their media-friendly but potentially lethal games in the hazardous waters of the Antarctic latitudes.
Sydney University professor of international law Don Rothwell believes the Australian Government may have an obligation to arrest and prosecute the protesters should they or their vessels enter an Australian port.
"Some of the protesters' actions could be construed to be in breach of SUA [the UN Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts], dealing with terrorism on the high seas which came into being after the attack on the Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean in October, 1985," Professor Rothwell told me yesterday.
The attack on the Achille Lauro was one of the more horrific attacks carried out by Palestinian terrorists during which a wheelchair-bound US citizen was murdered. Among other things, the SUA prohibits interference with navigation of vessels at sea.
It is up to the Japanese owners to sue for civil claims against the protesters for damage caused to their vessels by deliberate ramming by the protest ships.
The Australian Government could easily send these 'ecofreaks' and their supporters like Green's Senator Bob Brown a sharper message by removing Greenpeace's tax exempt status. After all, it lost its Canadian charitable status in 1989 because it was found not to be providing a discernible benefit to the public. There is no reason why Australian taxpayers should be supporting this multinational publicity machine.
Those who feel outraged by the whaling activities of the Japanese would be on considerably firmer ground if they challenged the nation over its rape of the truly threatened resources of southern bluefin tuna. Not as cuddly as blow-up whales which croon along with aged folksingers, perhaps, but probably closer to extinction, southern bluefin tuna stocks are rapidly approaching the point of collapse.
The international quota agreed by Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines now stands at 14,930 tonnes but by most authoritative counts, about 40,000 tonnes was marketed last year in Japan with the over-catch coming from Japanese and Taiwanese long-liners.
Greenpeace's last stunts at Lucas Heights endangered the flow of radio isotopes used in nuclear medicines to treat numerous patients around Australia, causing a great degree of anxiety to the sick and their families. These short-sighted clowns also hampered the production of nuclear materials used in pollution detecting devices and smoke detectors.
The no-hopers playing chicken with their lives in the Southern Ocean need to be pulled up short. Cutting their access to tax-free funds obtained by tugging on the heartstrings of the gullible would be a sure-fire way of gaining their limited attention.