Today we bring you an urgent story that mixes international intrigue, conservation, politics and entertainment activism in an issue with life or death consequences. The issue caught The Silver Tongue‘s eye courtesy of The Red Hot Chili Peppers. On their website Thursday, the Red Hot Chili Peppers posted the following plea:
“For 31 years Captain Paul Watson has been at the helm of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and a leader in the fight for a clean environment and marine conservation.
The arrest of Captain Watson in Germany we believe is in part due to the fact that he uncovered an illegal shark finning operations in Costa Rica. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are longtime supporters of Sea Shepherd, Captain Watson and the wonderful work they do to save our ocean and protecting marine wildlife globally.
To our fans if you would like to learn more or find out how to support Captain Watson and Sea Shepherd please CLICK HERE or you can stop at the Sea Shepherd table at all of our North American concerts this year.”
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is a non-profit, marine conservation organization based in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, Washington in the United States. The group uses direct action tactics to protect sealife. Sea Shepherd is a non-government environmental organization and in the United States has a 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. Sea Shepherd is supported by private and corporate donations, lectures by Paul Watson, Internet advertising, and grants. The group is operated by volunteers and a small paid staff. Watson says he is committed to keeping his organization small, and does not believe in spending money on fund-raising or recruitment.
Sea Shepherd representatives were able to visit Captain Watson in the Frankfurt prison and they were able to record the following statement from Captain Watson:
“In our efforts to defend the lives of whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, and fish we have made some powerful enemies, most notably the government of Japan. It is no coincidence that the extradition request by Costa Rica was issued the same month (October 2011) as the Japanese whaling (ICR) lawsuit against Sea Shepherd was initiated. The extradition request was in reference to a complaint from Costa Rican fishermen who I caught poaching in Guatemalan waters. The fishermen were not injured and their boat was not damaged. The incident was fully documented for the film Sharkwater. Interpol originally denied this extradition order and deemed it as politically motivated. Therefore the question must be asked why Germany is now taking into account accusations made by illegal poachers.”- Captain Paul Watson
Captain Watson has travelled extensively throughout the world since the Costa Rican government issued this arrest warrant in October of 2011. He has been to Australia, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, etc. None of these countries have sought to arrest Captain Watson as Germany has.
Should Captain Watson be extradited to Costa Rica, he will certainly not receive a fair trial and his safety cannot be guaranteed. The shark finning mafia, which operates illegally in Costa Rica, could try to harm Captain Watson and this reality has him fearing for his life. Sea Shepherd is doing everything it can to provide Captain Watson the best legal defense team possible. Between the illegal Japanese whalers and the shark finning mafia in Costa Rica, Captain Watson has formidable enemies who seek to stop his efforts to defend marine life.
Sea Shepherd has received financial contributions from celebrities and businessmen such as entrepreneur Steve Wynn, television personality Bob Barker, and John Paul DeJoria, as well as other celebrities. Martin Sheen, Darryl Hannah, and Richard Dean Anderson have joined the group during protests. Actors including Edward Norton, Pierce Brosnan, Christian Bale, and Emily Deschanel have supported the group through contributions, while William Shatner has also been mentioned as supporting the group.
From the music industry, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Leona Lewis, Rick Rubin, and the groups The Red Paintings and Gojira have financially supported Sea Shepherd. In 2007, Heath Ledger conceived and directed a music video of the Modest Mouse song “King Rat”, intended to raise awareness of the whale hunts taking place each year off the coast of his native Australia. Although Ledger died before the video could be completed, others finished it in his honor and debuted the video online in August 2009. Proceeds from iTunes sales of the video in its first month of release were donated to Sea Shepherd.
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