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Greenpeace Rejects Terrorism Label

IPR: Greenpeace Rejects Terrorism Label


Amsterdam, 14 th December 2001- Following Greenpeace’s first encounter with the Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctica, the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) – a private institute that catches whales under a license from the Fisheries Agency of Japan - put out a statement calling Greenpeace “eco-terrorists”. Today Gert Leipold, Executive Director of Greenpeace International responded with a letter to the Director General of the ICR, Dr. Seiji Ohsumi.*

“Greenpeace strongly objects to this insulting and incorrect use of the word 'terrorism' to describe the peaceful and non violent anti- whaling activities of Greenpeace in the Southern Ocean. This use debases the language. Calling non violent protest terrorism insults those who were injured or killed in the attacks of real terrorists,” said Leipold.

“There is a right to peaceful protest and we are exercising that right in the Antarctic. Our small inflatable boats pose no risk to the steel hulled high powered whale catchers. The catchers outweigh our boats by hundreds of times and tower over them. Simple disagreement is not terrorism. Signalling your disagreement is not terrorism. To call our peaceful protest terrorism is absurd.”

Greenpeace calls on Japan to immediately cease their whaling activities and to engage in solely non-lethal research and to cease personal attacks on those that disagree with its current whaling programme.

In its statement, the ICR also gave a false account of a very dangerous collision which occurred in Antarctic waters in 1999, claiming Greenpeace violated maritime navigation laws and “caused a collision with our research ship". This account was
rejected outright by Leipold who cited the Lloyd's database record of this incident as a “ramming of the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise by the factory ship Nisshin Maru.”

For more information, please contact
John Frizell, Greenpeace International, Ocean Campaign, tel.: +441273476839
MV Arctic Sunrise - Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner: Kieran Mulvaney (English language) or Yuko Hirono (Japanese) Tel: + 873 1302577 (Satellite phone approx. US$10 per minute

* Text of letter from Gerd Leipold, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, to Dr. Seiji Ohsumi, Director General of the Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo.

Dr. Seiji Ohsumi

Director General

Institute of Cetacean Research

Tokyo

December 14, 2001

Dear Dr. Oshumi,

We refer to your announcement that Japan's vessels are in the Antarctic to conduct the 15th year of its whale research program and in particular your claims that the Japanese whaling constitutes a “scientifically valid and perfectly legal research program”.

You will be aware that the International Whaling Commission at the 2001 meeting strongly urged the Government of Japan to halt the take of minke whales conducted under the JARPA programme, at least until the Scientific Committee has reported to the Commission on the impacts of the JARPA programme on the stocks of minke whales in Areas IFV and V. You will also be aware of the often-repeated International Whaling Commission recommendation that scientific research involving the killing of cetaceans should only be permitted in exceptional circumstances where the questions address critically important issues which cannot be answered by the analysis of existing data and/or use of non-lethal techniques. Yet the United States Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta has stated that “Japan has no reasonable scientific justification for its whaling efforts“ and the New Zealand Prime Minister has observed that within the IWC there is a real question about whether this is the purpose of the Japanese activities, given that they clearly do not meet any ‘critically important research needs.’

Thus you will see that many object to Japan’s whaling activities. The use by your organization of words such as 'terrorism' to describe the peaceful and non violent anti-whaling protest of Greenpeace in the Southern Ocean shows an act of desperation. It is not only wrong but insulting to our supporters around the world and undermines the global fight against international terrorism. Calling non violent protest terrorism insults those who were injured or killed in the attacks of real terrorists, including Fernando Pereira, killed by State terrorism in the 1985 attack on the Rainbow Warrior.

There is a right to peaceful protest, and we are exercising that right in the Antarctic. Our small inflatable boats pose no risk to the steel hulled high powered whale catchers. The catchers outweigh our boats by hundreds of times and tower over them. To call our peaceful protest terrorism is absurd.

Greenpeace utterly rejects Dr. Ohsumi's false account of the very dangerous collision which occurred in Antarctic waters in 1999. The Lloyd's database records this incident as a ramming of the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise by the factory ship Nisshin Maru. Even the whalers themselves have admitted the factory ship (which is faster, twice as long and several times heavier than the Greenpeace ship involved) was overtaking the Greenpeace ship at the time of the collision. Under international maritime regulations for the prevention of collision it is the overtaking vessel which is responsible for keeping clear. The Japanese factory ship was engaged in a reckless manoeuvre intended to intimidate the Greenpeace vessel when she collided with it. The collision was entirely the fault of the factory ship and posed a very real risk to the smaller Greenpeace ship they struck. Crew on the Greenpeace ship were thrown off their feet and the ship rolled so far under the impact that she was in danger of capsizing.

We call on Japan to immediately cease their whaling activities and to engage in solely non-lethal research and to cease personal attacks on those that disagree with its current whaling programme.

Regards,

Gerd Leipold

Executive Director

Greenpeace International


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