Note………this was in February 2013……..
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Their supporters call them heroes. The Japanese government calls them terrorists.
Late Monday, the United States’ largest federal court labeled them pirates.
In doing so, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals castigated Paul Watson and members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society he founded for the tactics used in their relentless campaign to disrupt the annual whale hunt off the dangerous waters of Antarctica.
“You don’t need a peg leg or an eye patch,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel. “When you ram ships; hurl glass containers of acid; drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate, no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be.”
The same court in December ordered the organization to keep its ships at least 500 yards from Japanese whalers. The whalers have since accused the protesters of violating that order at least twice this month.
The ruling overturned a Seattle trial judge’s decision siding with the protesters and tossing out a lawsuit filed by a group of Japanese whalers seeking a court-ordered halt to the aggressive tactics, many of which were broadcast on the Animal Planet reality television show “Whale Wars.”
U.S. District Judge Richard Jones had sided with Sea Shepherd on several grounds in tossing out the whalers’ piracy accusations and refusing to prohibit the conservation group’s protests. He determined the protesters’ tactics were nonviolent because they targeted equipment and ships rather than people.
The judge also said the whalers were violating an Australian court order banning the hunt and so were precluded from pursuing their lawsuit in the United States.
The appeals court called Jones’ ruling “off base” and took the rare step of ordering the case transferred to another Seattle judge to comply with its ruling Monday. The appeals court said Jones had misinterpreted the Australian ruling, which didn’t address the protesters’ actions.
“The district judge’s numerous, serious and obvious errors identified in our opinion raise doubts as to whether he will be perceived as impartial in presiding over this high-profile case,” Kozinski wrote.
Charles Moure, an attorney representing Sea Shepherd, said he would ask an 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit to reconsider Monday’s ruling, including Jones’ removal from the case.
“They are killing whales in violation of an Australian court order,” Moure said.
————————— or read this version:
PD: Interesting item here– Chief Judge did not allow the ARs to claim that a private act means “NOT for profit” but rather, it means NOT public…this could be important in the way the AR “non profits” keep claiming they are exempt from everything down the line?
Judge Kozinski Benchslaps Sea Pirate Hippies, Federal Judge
Take a bow, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski.
What’s your personal record for insulting people in a single day? Unless you are atact-less celeb or gaffe-tastic politician, it’s probably in the single digits. Judge Kozinski labeled a group of environmental activists “pirates” (using the law to back his assertion), pointed out Australia’s impotence in international whaling law, and then questioned a district court judge’s ability to perform his duties. In a single opinion.
That’s how you run an appeals court – like a boss.
The Sea Shepherd Pirates
How does one define a pirate? They ram ships. They destroy propellers. They fling acid-filled projectiles. Chief Kozinski’s oh-so-quotable line to begin the opinion was, “You don’t need a peg leg or an eye patch … you are, without a doubt, a pirate, no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be.”
Two international laws, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the High Seas Convention, define pirates almost identically. UNCLOS defines it as
“illegal acts of violence … committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship … and directed … against another ship … or against persons or property on board such ship.”
Judge Richard Jones interpreted “private acts” to mean “for profit.”
The Ninth Circuit referred to it as the antonym of “public”, which includes any private or personal interest. This includes freeing Willy, fighting whaling, or saving trees.
Prior pirate cases have interpreted “private” as any actions not taken on behalf of a state.
The vocabulary lesson continues with the definition of “violence”, which should be obvious, but apparently wasn’t. Judge Jones declared the Sea Shepherd’s acts nonviolent because they did not target humans. Never mind UNCLOS’ own text, which prohibits “violence … against another ship.” Besides, even under the misdefinition of violence, flying acid-filled projectiles still endanger the life of the crew. Stranded ships in Antarctic waters aren’t particularly safe either. Just ask Jack.
Verdict: Arrr. Mateys be pirates.
Judge Jones relied upon the doctrine of unclean hands to deny an injunction that would have prevented the Sea Shepherd from harassing Cetacean because the whale-hunting scientists flouted Australia’s order prohibiting them from whaling in the Southern Ocean. The problem is, he deferred to a government with no power to issue such an order. Neither the U.S. nor Japan recognize Australia’s jurisdiction over Antarctic waters. Their order has about the same force as one issued by, say, Djibouti.
Judge Richard Jones Benchslap
After 15 pages of citing and correcting Judge Jones’ mistakes (we couldn’t list them all), the Ninth Circuit twisted the knife a bit more:
“The district judge’s numerous, serious and obvious errors identified in our opinion raise doubts as to whether he will be perceived as impartial in presiding over this high-profile case.”
Ouch. In addition to a reversal, remand, and near-reprimand, the court ordered the case to be reassigned to a different judge.
- Inst. of Cetacean Research v. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals)
- Dissent – Inst. of Cetacean Research v. Sea Shepherd Conservation Soc’y (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals)
- Court: Anti-whaling protesters are ‘pirates’ (Associated Press)
- Ninth Circuit Kills Trees, Approves Alaskan Railroad (FindLaw’s Ninth Circuit Blog)
Judge Kozinski is well known for being pretty controversial…but in this case, he actually did not side with the animal activists…thank God for small miracles, AND he ruled the Judge that had issued the bad ruling, to be barred from working on the case again (due to not being impartial…)
and last, here is link to the very very expensive AR boats, funded by various celebs like B Barker, Steve Irwin (deceased)….very very clearly, millions and millions of donations go to people who operate these boats, AND according to the Chief Judge, THEY ARE PIRATES?
Institute of Cetacean Research v. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Citation: 43 ELR 20114
No. 12-35266, (9th Cir., 05/24/2013)
The Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court decision dismissing a Japanese whaling research organization’s piracy claims against an environmental activist group. The researchers hunt whales in the Southern Ocean pursuant to a permit issued under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. They filed suit against the activists under the Alien Tort Statute for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that their acts–ramming ships, fouling propellers, and hurling fiery and acid-filled projectiles– amount to piracy and violate international agreements regulating conduct on the high seas.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the High Seas Convention defines “piracy” as “illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship . . . and directed . . . on the high seas, against another ship . . . or against persons or property on board such ship.” The lower court dismissed the piracy claim, interpreting the term “private ends” as limited to those pursued for financial enrichment. It also held that the activists’ conduct is not violent because it targets ships and equipment rather than people. But “private ends” are not limited to those pursued for financial enrichment.
They also include those pursued on personal, moral or philosophical grounds, such as the activists’ professed environmental goals. That the activists believe themselves to be serving the public good does not render their ends public. In addition, “violence” extends to malicious acts against inanimate objects. Thus, the activists’ alleged conduct easily qualifies as violent activities, even if they could somehow be directed only at inanimate objects. Accordingly, the activities that the researchers allege the group has engaged in are clear instances of violent acts for private ends, the very embodiment of piracy. The court also reversed the denial of the whalers’ motion for a preliminary injunction, holding that they were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims, there was a likelihood of irreparable harm, and the balance of the equities and the public interest favored the whalers.
and then we have an opinion in news, 2014:
Sea Shepherd should be banned from our ports
The Abbott Government should distance itself from the Sea Shepherd’s dangerous tactics and ban its vessels from entering Australian ports, writes Anthony Bergin.
There has been another dangerous confrontation in the Southern Ocean as Sea Shepherd carries out its 10th annual campaign of harassment against whalers.
On Sunday, the anti-whaling organisation accused a Japanese ship of unprovoked aggression. According to Captain Peter Hammarstedt, the Yushin Maru deliberately crashed into his ship the Bob Barker, causing damage to the bow and anchor.
The Japanese government blames the anti-whaling organisation for the collision, saying that it occurred after Sea Shepherd tried to sabotage the whaling fleet.
It was lucky that nobody was injured. If the Japanese were actually the aggressors this time, then it’s more a case of “what goes around, comes around” for Sea Shepherd. High-seas confrontations are common between Sea Shepherd and the Japanese. Four years ago a collision resulted in the sinking of Sea Shepherd’s high speed vessel Ady Gil.
The manoeuvres of Sea Shepherd are potentially disastrous. They’re risking causing serious injury or loss of life by ignoring the basic maritime rules of the road: it’s incumbent on masters of vessels to avoid placing their ship in a dangerous situation in relation to other vessels. Apart from the human safety aspect, the group risks directly contributing to a major fuel spill if a ship down south was damaged or sunk. The remoteness of the area where these operations are taking place (in New Zealand’s search and rescue area) makes rescue or clean-up operations difficult and costly.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt says that Japanese whaling ships and anti-whaling protesters must both abide by international law: “These are dangerous waters and nobody can play any games with safety.”
The best way to stop the Sea Shepherd activities, which even Greenpeace says are dangerous, is for the Abbott Government to ban the entry of its vessels into Australian ports. The Sea Shepherd group’s vessels visit Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney for refuelling.
Any state has an interest in allowing access to its ports for merchant vessels from other countries in order that their vessels will receive reciprocal treatment. Indeed, there’s bilateral and multilateral treaties which guarantee these rights. In the case of environmental protest boats, however, there’s not the same interest in achieving this reciprocity.
Regulating port access is a powerful way to control shipping. Port state measures have had important success in improving operations and standards of merchant shipping through ensuring compliance with required measures, and combating illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing on the high seas by banning access to ports from vessels that have engaged in such activities. (In the late nineties, we banned Japanese fishing vessels from our ports for three years because Japan wouldn’t agree to catch limits on southern bluefin tuna.)
In deciding whether to grant consent to vessels to enter its ports, a state is therefore free to impose conditions as it wishes: gaining access to a port of a state is a privilege, not a right. It’s an offence, for example, for a whaling vessel to call at an Australian port unless the master has written permission from the Environment Minister to bring it into the port.
The Abbott Government should distance itself from the Sea Shepherd’s dangerous tactics and ban its vessels from our ports.
Anthony Bergin is deputy director, Australian Strategic Policy Institute and honorary fellow, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. View his full profile here.
AND saw this on anti whaling forum:
Posted 06 April 2014 – 05:53 PMDespite the posturing by the Japanese Foreign Ministry that Japan will not return to their illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
They may indeed not return for the 2014/2015 season but I am quite sure that they will return for the 2015/2016 season.
The primary reason for this is simple. Japan has not withdrawn their application to seek a permanent injunction against Sea Shepherd USA in the U.S. Federal Court. In fact, following the verdict of the International Court of Justice in the Hague, the attorney’s for the Institute of Cetacean Research presented a brief to the U.S. Court stating that they intend to proceed.
Now what is the purpose of an injunction to interfere with whaling operations if there are no whaling operations?
The Japanese government realizes that the present government of Australia will not interfere should the whalers return to Antarctica. The Present government of Tony Abbott is openly hostile to conservationists and environmentalists and very, very keen to keep Japan happy for reasons of international trade.
Japanese Premier Abe has made it very clear that he is dissatisfied with the ICJ verdict.
What they may very well do is sit out the next season, considering they have not got the six months required to filing their intentions with the International Whaling Commission. In the meantime they can design an entirely new “scientific” program. They can then return. Australia may or may not challenge them. Abbott will not intervene unless pressured by the electorate.
And they will think that Sea Shepherd will move on to other issues.
Intervention will mean Australia possibly (although unlikely) taking Japan back to the ICJ to await another five year waiting period of a second verdict.
Japan has a history of political and military duplicity.
What this means for Sea Shepherd is that we must repair and prepare our ships for future interventions. The year this verdict has bought us will give us time to raise funding for a faster long range vessel to make our fleet 100% effective.
The Whale Wars in the Southern Ocean are not over and the only thing that will convince me that the Japanese government has decided to withdraw from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is for the civil suit seeking a permanent injunction be dropped.
It makes little sense to continue to spend money seeking an injunction that would be useless because there would be no whaling operations to intervene against.
The injunction however makes little legal sense. Sea Shepherd USA is not involved in the Southern Ocean and does not contribute funds to the Southern Ocean campaigns. The temporary injunction the ICR now has, does cut off funding to the Southern Ocean fleet but it cannot stop ships flying the Dutch flag operating from Australian ports.
The ICR does not want Sea Shepherd USA to return to funding the campaigns and thus the suit continues.
The U.S. 9th District Court has ruled that the whalers are operating legally. The International Court of Justice has ruled that the whalers are operating illegally. Will the international court’s opinion overrule the U.S. Federal Court opinion? In theory no. But Japan is gamboling that the U.S. Courts will overrule the ICJ.
People have asked me this week why I am not popping champagne and joyfully celebrating this victory.
Although I acknowledge that this is a victory that vindicates our legal position and means that it is the whalers that are the outlaws, the fact remains that the outlaws still have every intention of continuing to kill whales.
The borders of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary are not closed to the whalers yet.
We need another ship and we need to make our other three large ships readied for a return once again to the Southern Ocean. The International Court of Justice has bought us the time to make these preparations and to secure a fourth large long range fast ship.
The gates of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary will remain guarded by Sea Shepherd for as long as it requires to make the Sanctuary a solid sanctuary where the whales can live unmolested by the criminals intent upon murdering them.
When the Japanese whalers return they will meet a much stronger and fully prepared whale defense force.
We will be prepared and we will be ready.