May 16th, 2012


Paul Watson detained in Germany and faces extradition to Costa Rica

Paul Watson, animal rights activist and Captain of the Sea Shepherd, has been detained in Frankfurt Germany,1 and Costa Rica has asked German authorities for extradition to their country based on a capias warrant issue, over Paul's interference with poachers in Costa Rican territorial waters (no one was injured and there was no damage to the poachers' boats).2 INTERPOL, has examined those charges, and found that they were politically motivated. The general Public Prosecutor to the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt has requested the extradition papers, but noted that the German federal government can stop this process if they feel it is politically motivated.

[More behind here]

Paul Watson is the captain of the "Sea Shepherd" and other vessels that have successfully hampered illegal Japanese whale hunting in Antarctica, but also have raised public awareness of the Canadian baby seal hunts, and recently had focused on the Faroe Islands annual whale hunts (called "grinds"), and world wide overfishing of tuna, with some tuna species face complete extinction within five years (particularly in the Mediterranean), according to fishery experts.

The Discovery Channel recently featured Watson's Faroe Island campaign in a three part special called "Whale Wars - Viking Invasion," you can see highlights and a brief summary of what is going there in the following video clip. Please be warned, some of the footage is extremely graphic.

I'm generally supportive of Watson's actions, but the Faroe Islands campaign was a bit of a tougher moral dilemma for me, but ultimately it's a moot one. The inhabitants of the Faroe Islands have been warned by their chief medical officer to stop eating whale meat and blubber, because it contains too much mercury. In fact, the Faroese have some of the highest incidents of mercury poisoning in the world. Research there has "revealed damage to fetal neural development, high blood pressure, and impaired immunity in children, as well as increased rates of Parkinson's disease, circulatory problems and possibly infertility in adults." 3

That's the irony here for me, the thing that may end up saving a lot of fish and whales is the fact we've so polluted our environment could be the only thing that will save some of them. The real question is, who will play the clock out first?

1. Sea Shepherd organization's press release.

2. Summary of the charges and trial, etc. Prosecutors filed charges in 2002 against the Canadian captain for allegedly endangering the lives of eight fishermen and for attempting to cause a shipwreck. Watson did not attend a trial on June 26, 2006, and the Costa Rican courts considered him a fugitive."

3. New Scientist article: "Faroe Islanders told to stop eating toxic whales." by Debora MacKenzie, 28 November 2008

Many thanks to mzflux who posted about this and alerted me about the story.

Slowly people are understanding about fracking and alternatives.

I'm very happy to say that all the last 2 years of work is finally paying off. Last night's local meeting at my town board proved that if people are on the fence about something (fracking) and you can educate them and listen to their fears, then work with them; they begin to understand and begin to see why fracking is eventually going to kill us all. That's why in NY we need to ban fracking. And I believe- the tides have turned, we are virtually even now pro/con. I believe the more we are able to educate people the more they realize how deadly this is and we will stop it.
As I always say, we have lived before without gas and oil. We can't live without water and air.
The future is in bio-fuels Algae is our next fuel. Easy, economical, doesn't ruin the enviornoment, helps create jobs. I'm ready to invest in this guy's company down in Florida
  • khylko

Why Putin ignores the G8 summit, and Obama ignores the APEC summit?

World media are scratching their heads, why Putin has refused to visit the G8 summit that will take place in the U.S., and Obama has refused to go to the APEC summit (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) in Russia.

Most popular versions are the follows: 1) Putin want to avoid criticism for the oppression of democracy (eg, see: National Review); 2) Putin makes it clear to Washington of his unwillingness to continue the policy of “reset” and even the willingness to return to the level of relations of the “Cold War” times. The Christian Science Monitor even quoted an expert of Moscow think tank “The Council on Foreign and Defense Policies” Dmitry Suslov that perhaps Putin is “sending the message that the Kremlin would actually prefer a Mitt Romney presidency,” who called Russia “a geopolitical foe”.  

In my opinion, the assumption that Putin may be scared of criticism, do not stand any criticism itself :)  Even relatively mild Medvedev at the EU-Russia summit in December 2011 severely cut off European attempts to assess the Russian State Duma elections, saying that it was Russian internal matter. Therefore, a possible response of a harsh Putin certainly could eclipse even Khrushchev’s historic speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 1960 when he threatened “to show Kuzma’s mother” to the West (that Russian idiom means strong threat, like “We’ll bury you”). And still it is hardly realistic that G8 leaders planned to strongly criticize Putin – since the beginning of the economic crisis, they reserved democracy issues for the less powerful foreign partners, such as Belarus and Ukraine.

So, I think that the causes of mutual Putin-Obama summits disregard may be the following:

1. Due to high oil prices, Russia is not in need of G8 assistance, therefore, it sees no vital need for this meeting. Especially since the geopolitical and economic weight of G8 is no longer what it was several years ago: the world is undergoing structurization by regions, therefore for all participants of the summit of more important are decisions made in such organizations as the EU, BRICS, APEC, etc.

2. Russia and the U.S. have different vision of the Pacific region future (see “Are Russia and Europe Ready for a New Pacific World Order?”), so Obama has no reason to visit the APEC summit organized by the Moscow. And Putin certainly wants to be the sole host of the summit, so he don’t need the presence of a leader of still the most powerful nation.

3. Putin wants Obama to re-elected because Russia has not yet regained enough strength to enter into a new “cold war”. That is why Putin allows Obama to save face and avoid meetings, for which Obama would certainly receive a new portion of criticism from the Republicans. Mitt Romney is waiting for the occasion to ask Obama why did not he criticize Putin for the oppression of democracy. By ignoring the summits Putin and Obama deprive the Republican’s leader of such possibility.

And by the way, all he needs to tell Putin, Obama is always able to transmit through Medvedev :)