World Conservation Trust
Hot Air fills the
He's at it again - having been discouraged from
continuing his efforts to keep the Makah Indian tribe from their lawful
gray whale hunts, Paul Watson spent some time in the Caribbean, and off the
west coast of middle America, threatening people and being encouraged to
leave various countries. Now, the intrepid swash-buckler has put down his
anchor in Auckland Harbor, New Zealand, where he claims he shall wait until
it is time to harass the Japanese scientific whaling fleet in Antarctica
this coming December.
first priority is always to attract media attention. However, he was
perhaps less than pleased with the impression he made on Barbara Sumner
Burstyn, whose "Anti-whaling Fanatic Fighting Yesterday's Battle"
appeared in the New Zealand Herald on September 9, 2002. Ms Burstyn, a
no-nonsense and courageous lady, cut through the typical media hype to
thoroughly dispel all of Watson's own myths about his piratical life story.
She doesn't buy his hero image, his claims about why his antics are
sanctioned by the United Nations, or any of his other myths. This is
probably less than pleasant for the New Zealand government authorities,
whose policy has been to object to all of Japan's scientific whaling
programs. Now one of their own has raised questions.
The New Zealand Government now finds itself in the position of hosting
Watson in the harbor, since there are no legal reasons why he should be
detained, while he claims to the press that he is staying there until he
can go out and commit illegal acts at sea. The Government of New Zealand
has been so loudly opposed to Japanese scientific whaling, that Watson may
have correctly assumed that authorities will do nothing to deter him from
his self-appointed, unjustified, illegal, dangerous, and downright
ridiculous task - to harass and threaten, perhaps ram and damage, the
Nissin Maru or accompanying catcher vessels in the Southern Ocean.
The 1915 edition of the Century Dictionary (the Century Company, New
York) defines a swash buckler as "a swaggering blade; a bravo; a bully
or braggadocio". Likewise, a swash is "a blustering noise"
and a swasher is "one who makes a blustering show of valor or force of
arms; a braggart; a bully".
Paul Watson, captain of his fate, master of his ship, is a swash buckler
of international renown. His crew is at risk in the following months, if he
is allowed to carry out his wildly irresponsible and improbable plans to
deter the Japanese from their legal research in the Antarctic. The whole
proposal is merely a copycat of the Greenpeace fiasco of a few years ago.
All it can accomplish is some more reluctant media attention, because by
now, all media know better than to believe that this man has a worthwhile
cause. Even tabloid media organizations know that Watson's braggadocio
regarding what he can or will do is hot air, filling his sails with his
words, hoping they will blow him more attention that he can control better
than he did Ms Burstyn. His previous antics, his words, his alleged
"can opener" device, all reek of the fetid breath of a swash
buckler bloated beyond belief with self-aggrandizement. As long as Paul
Watson can reach to buckle his swashes, he will keep on with these wild and
stupid voyages until finally, no one will bother to report on them. Wake
Up, New Zealand. Your citizens are watching.