Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ric O'Barry is Still in Jail: the Stillness Before the Storm

The People of the Sea are asking for our help

So, are you feeling the stillness before the storm?

The Dolphin Activist many consider a hero, Ric O'Barry, is in jail in Japan...still in jail ever since he arrived in Japan on January18th. He was sent to the Narita Immigration Detention Center, a hellacious place described in many places with a Google Search, like this one in the prestigious magazine, The Economist, to be like a Stalin Era prison Gulag.

He will not always be in jail. When he's released, we can help the pressure grow to help end the Japanese War on Dolphins.

If you have specialized skills please contact me. We have recently been contacted by a PR firm discussing options to expand pressure to motivate Japanese corporate interests. This is a new line of thinking...usually professionals have been afraid of a Japanese corporate backlash. This group seems to be looking forward to a melee.  Or, if you want to come to Taiji as an independent activist, we can help you with a homestay in Taiji Town itself. If you cannot come to Taiji to help bear witness, then please support those who can.

The coming storm will come when Ric leaves the Japanese jail if Ric decides to fight in the courts. This storm would keep a hard raining frustrating pressure system on Japan's Dolphin Killing Parade. It would also keep the story in the news.

This US Court Decision from more than 100 years ago may give an indication of how things might go for Ric.

Ric's next play, if he chooses it, will probably be to file a lawsuit against the Japanese Government after he is forced to leave the country sometime between next week and the 60 day limit around March 20th.

If Ric does decide to fight, it looks like it may be the very first case of it's kind. It looks like it's incredibly rare for anyone to be so angry at their treatment at Japanese Immigration that they fight back. There appears to be a pattern of Japanese Immigration nastiness but to actually take the time and energy and resources to go the distance and fight the Japanese Government in court, is unheard off. If Ric decides to fight, he may be the first. There is very little public record that I can find on individuals who sue the Japanese Government over a Deportation Order. It would certainly take a whole lot of patience and precious time and a whole lot of money too.

Australia For Dolphins and Earth Island Institute have teamed up to sue the J-gov sponsored Taiji Whale Museum (TWM) and they are now tied up in's been more than 18 months and thousands of dollars a month. But it looks like there is a very good chance of winning and already, just the lawsuit itself has significantly changed how the TWM does business. They can no longer block people from entering the museum just because they might oppose the Dolphin Killing.

As a side-note, have you tried the Taiji Whale Museum link above? It's down in Japan from time to time at least with "Service Temporarily Unavailable" because Anonymous has made it that way. Anon is expected to be part of this never-ending storm bearing down on those who support the War on Dolphins.

So far, Ric's expenses are limited because his lawyer has almost no place in the Japanese Deportation Hearings. But if Ric does fight, he will need a war chest in the 100's of thousands of dollars and I for one will support this fight. I have met Ric's lawyer, Mr. Takano. He is a formidable lawyer and a well-known Japanese law professor. He is also the attorney in TWM case as well.

Previous cases in the USA, where Japan seems to get some of it's legal direction point to an interesting American case when a JAPANESE woman fought deportation FROM AMERICA TO JAPAN, the opposite to Ric who may obviously fight deportation FROM JAPAN TO AMERICA. While US case law certainly sets no precedents for the nation of Japan, I think it's an indication of how decisions are apt to go. Please take a look. I'm sure the lawyers are.

"Ms. Kaoru Yamataya was a sixteen-year-old girl from Japan when she landed in Seattle on July 11, 1901." ...this is the case...114 years ago that rocked the US legal system and changed deportation procedures in the US forever. Ms. Yamataya ended up losing her case because she was a minor and that the stingy government at the time didn't want to pay for immigrants' welfare.

But the information that came out as this case worked it's way all the way to the United States Supreme Court and made it necessary for the Immigration Department to change their rules and be less of a bunch of stingy asshats.

(At least this is how I read the case. Are there any legal experts want to have a go at better explaining this?)

So, if Ric chooses to fight after he returns to the USA, he will certainly need funding from all who love him and he may actually change how Japanese Immigration functions and improve it just by virtue of making the story a public spectacle that few are as good at as Ric O'Barry. He would be the ideal person for the job. He is a master at getting himself in the news in order to talk about Dolphins.

Would the case make it through the Japanese courts enough to change how the narrow-minded Japanese Immigration Asshats deal with Dolphin Activists? It's unknown but I think it's worth a try.

It will certainly buffer the stress around the activists in Taiji with Ric's Dolphin Project as well as Sea Shepherd who are now in Taiji until the end of the Dolphin Killing Season and those expected to return for the opening of the next Dolphin Killings in September 2016. AND WE NEED THEM THERE. Without activists on the ground in Taiji, the world would simply not know.

I hope Ric does go the distance. Don't you!

Steven Thompson

And if you know the difference between Death Metal and Metalcore or want to listen in, please enjoy the Deathcore band from Denver Colorado, Stillness Before the Storm, that can be found on Facebook here and their music of how I feel when the hunt is going on and the Dolphins are about to be murdered. It's heavy and metal and fcuking edgy.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Letter to Ric O'Barry: No More Fish Stories Please!

No more hyperbole please

All Eyes are on Ric O'Barry.
There are 40 synonyms for exaggeration.

The latest biggest Taiji news we see is not that Ric was NOT arrested, it's that, the prick from Texas, was right: Ric's statements on Dolphin Project's Blog were false. It hurts when friends lie. It makes you wonder why.

Contrary to Ric's statements, Ric was never offered the title of Ambassador of Ito City last week for his Dolphin work or ANYTHING else by Mayor Hiromi Tsukuda or ANYONE else.

When we investigated Ric's similar claim in The turns out that Ric was never given the "Keys to the City of Taiji" either, as stated in the film.

Maybe they were both just figures of know, "having the keys to the city" and being the “Ambassador of Ito City” are like saying that we are like "best buds". That could be, but unfortunately for Ric, Ito City Mayor took the twisting of his words at face value, meaning a lie and complained to everyone who would listen, which thankfully included Cara Sands, the Dolphin Project .net web manager, and the falsehood has been taken down, but there is an uncomfortable accumulation that has prompted our letter to you today.

Dear Ric:
We love you as the tough Dolphin loving warrior you chose to be when one of the Flipper Cast, became the only Dolphin in history fully documented by you to choose to stop breathing. We know the Japanese in power may not like you. We are now reasonably certain that the Taiji police have it in for you...but you have a good team there in Taiji and 1000's of people standing with you to keep on keeping don't need to exaggerate your titles or police brutality (torture for a night in jail) for us to keep loving you...You don't need to lose your passport or drink before you drive or drive your car off the road to get attention.

You don't need to hype the radiation in dolphin meat before you test it either. The Tesla-Drive-to-DC-to-Deliver-a-Million-Signatures-to-Obama-to-Announce-a-Cove-Japanese-Rights-Buy-Back-Paid-For-With-New-Donations Event so the Japanese will finally see the truth, was a boast beyond reason or reality with no apparent follow-up...No tall tales! No lies please! Just you. We love you just the way you are.

What the world needs is good people observing the hunt and reporting it in photos and videos, tweets and posts to the world. That's the base. From there we need increased international pressure like with the Australia for Dolphins WAZA Lawsuits. Let's put more money into real pressure. 

We also need real negotiation if we are actually going to see an end of the Dolphin hunt. Next time we have an actual negotiation with people on the side of the hunters and people on the side of the activists, please support it instead of ending it. With great media attention, comes great responsibility. We need solutions. We need you there in Taiji.

The more you are there, the more the "Eye of Sauron" will not be on the Sea Shepherds, for they are doing the heavy lifting every single day of the season, year after year, without the drama. Dozens really have gone gone through regular Taiji police interrogations for years. They have even stoically gone to jail in Taiji and been found innocent.

If the police do arrest you, we are confident that you too will be found innocent of whatever crime the Taiji Keystone Cops can dream up. You are a better man than this. Your cause...our cause...the Dolphin Cause is just. The hunt will end. You don't need to try to do it alone.

We can do it together.

Steven Thompson

The opinions expressed here are mine alone based on my own research and experience. The intent here is to improve Dolphin activism with constructive criticism.

There are at least 40 synonyms for "exaggeration". One in this list need not be.
They are: baloney, excess, fabrication, falsehood, fantasy, hyperbole, misjudgment, misrepresentation, untruth, aggrandizement, amplification, boasting, caricature, coloring, crock, elaboration, embroidery, emphasis, enlargement, exaltation, extravagance, fancy, hogwash, inflation, jazz, line, magnification, overemphasis, overestimation, pretension, pretentiousness, rant, ric o'barry, romance, stretch, whopper, yarn, figure of speech, fish story, flight of fancy, and tall story.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The New Taiji Games 2015-2016

Find all the hidden cameras and win a prize!

The Pre-Opening discussion is done. The Taiji Dolphin Hunting season opens tomorrow, in about 8 hours.

All who have planned to be in Taiji are here, all checked in and ready to go. The film makers, the activists including all the groups and all the independents, the reporters, the police, the hunters, the managers, the politicians. THE WORLD IS WATCHING.

And while we watch, they watch.

Pre-Season research has identified a new aspect to the Dolphin Activism in Taiji. There is now something to do while we wait for the Blue-Cove, Red-Cove verdict.

Introducing the new game for all Dolphin activists who are actually in Taiji. The name of the game is: WHERE'S THE CAMERAS?

It looks like the police and town officials have actually taken a page out of our guide, The Cove Film Play Book: How to Be a Dolphin Activist, and installed rock cameras or others at up to $549usd a piece.

Can you find the new hidden cameras? The police appear to have installed wireless cameras and built a whole room at the back of the Police Cove Office to monitor the usual places: The Point, The Hill, The Union Office, The Parking Areas, The Super Market, and of course The Boats.

While it may have cost a bundle to get together and install and of course to keep up to date with full battery power, they will probably save on their payroll unless this game begins in earnest. Then they will have to monitor the gamers. They may have inadvertently started a whole new game for the hundreds of activists coming to play, just like "Where's Waldo?"

It's going to take imagination and creativity to play. You'll have to imagine you are a Japanese Taiji Police Officer who is set on trapping Dolphin Activists doing bad deeds. Do not take this lightly. It is no easy task to slide down the rabbit hole of Japanese Dolphin Activist Law-enforcement. First you have to accept that right or wrong, you will enforce a law that legitimizes the murder of some of the most intelligent, beautiful beings on the planet. Then, you just do your job. Just think: where might those foreigners go where they are not supposed to go and where won't they look for a camera?

If you find all 14 cameras, you win the prize, the right to gloat that the Taiji Police are following you personally and have your photo pinned to their wall.

Who will find them first?
It could be you.

Just get a ticket to Osaka, and take the train straight to Taiji. Remember to please hide your Sea Shepherd gear if you are not yet prepared for the game at the professional level, "The Deportation Game".

Here is a hidden camera website. Please shop here so that you can practice at home before you come.
Buy your own!

Please post photos of cameras hidden in the Taiji hills or town and include your method of detection. These now un-hidden cameras will then become a tourist draw to line up and pose in front of. The person who finds the camera has the right to name the site. There is really no limit to what can be done once a camera is actually found.

Where else in the world can gamers go to pit their wits against actual police carrying guns in a high stress international-conflict location and have the game itself funded by the police themselves! 

Furthermore, the risks are real or somewhat real because the police are such pussy cats here and not known to be prone to violence. Yet won't the police be motivated to arrest you or threaten arrest for posing in front of the camera? Maybe...maybe not, but this is about as real as gaming can get.

Caveat: the rules have not been fully accepted by all parties. Whether the police know of the myriad ways, including phone apps to find a hidden camera, as evidenced by a quick Google search, has yet to be seen.

For the Dolphins and for Us,
Steven Thompson
In Japan, part of an awesome team, supporting independent activists to Taiji
Taiji Dolphin Action Group

The game, "Where's The Cameras", is brought to you by Wakayama Dolphin Governor Yoshinobu NISAKA. The word is that no one is quite sure why he supports the killing so strongly or why the Japanese Government offers so many killing permits to him, but he sure does give otherwise ne'er-do-well activists something creative to do with their time.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


US contact : phone : 760-840-0414
European  contact :  phone : +353 851 880 138

 Mar 12, 2015
The tragic death of former Marineland Mallorca dolphin trainer Jose Luis Barbero has highlighted an important limitation in transparency and accountability for the training and holding of dolphins in captivity.  A WSB-TV news story revealed the shock of Georgia Aquarium visitors at seeing a video of trainers kicking, hitting and yelling at dolphins during training sessions. The public's shock comes from its expectation that those in control of captive dolphins are ensuring their well-being and that the types of acts illustrated in the video would not occur out of public view.The public’s expectation of dolphin well-being may not, however, be a reasonable one; without aquarium protocols to encourage the reporting of dolphin mishandling or even abuse, like the ones shown in the video, their well-being cannot be ensured. Neither the Georgia Aquarium nor Marineland Mallorca has made any statement that it provides to its employees and volunteers a mechanism for the reporting of abuse or mishandling of the marine mammals in their care. One volunteer at the Georgia Aquarium stated that no such reporting protocols were identified during the extensive, multi-day training for volunteers. Georgia Aquarium CEO Mike Leven’s statement that it has a “zero tolerance policy” against the mistreatment of any of their animals is encouraging, but policy, to be credible, is supported by protocol, not just words spoken during an interview.Meanwhile, it has been over a month since the release of the first video taken of dolphin maltreatment at Marineland Mallorca, and the Georgia Aquarium has not released the forensics evaluation of the videos that it committed to performing, leaving with the public its suggestion that the video was “doctored”, even though it stated that it had preliminary results as early as March 8.   The advocate community joins the public in extending continued condolences to the family of Mr. Barbero.  This community recognizes that marine animal trainers must have ready access to mechanisms for reporting instances of inappropriate training.  The tragedy of Mr. Barbero’s death must not be compounded by ignoring the clear need for reporting and, perhaps, counseling for members of the training community.VIDEO:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

HOW WE GOT HERE - The Death of Jose Luis Barbero

Prepared by Thomas Gainard, Michele Bollo, Steve Christianson
US contact : phone : 760-840-0414
European contact (french/english) :  phone : +353 851 880 138
Dolphin trainer identified in abuse video found dead in Mallorca of apparent suicide.
07 March 2015

José Luis Barbero, a senior dolphin trainer, was identified by a group from around the world who intended to expose the truth of what occurs “behind the scenes” between dolphin shows at Marineland Mallorca.  
It has been brought to our attention that lawyers and an investigator from the Atlanta-based aquarium were sent to Mallorca to investigate and were given information last weekend that a new video existed, which was released 2 days ago  Please see our previous press release for more context on the video. We believe Mr. Barbero was made aware of the second video before he went missing on Tuesday morning. 
Spanish media has reported that Mr. Barbero has been found today, deceased in his car at Mallorca Airport.
We view the death of Mr. Barbero as a terrible tragedy, and extend condolences of the most sincere kind to his family and friends. It should be clear that our effort is not focused on Mr. Barbero, but with Aspro Occio’s Marineland Mallorca, which has allowed the mistreatment of dolphins by not one trainer, but several.  

Mr. Barbero resigned from his position in Marineland with the prospect of becoming the new Senior Vice President at Georgia Aquarium in February.  

The first video provided to and released by the Spanish organisation 
SOSDelfines quickly made the rounds on the internet, which prompted Georgia Aquarium to launch an investigation, while putting Mr. Barbero’s hire on hold.  IMATA (International Marine Animals Trainer’s Association) also launched their own separate investigation, after making a video statement. [since removed from their website]
The question that begs to be asked in the coming weeks is how could this happen and what are the events that led to such tragedy?
The  focus on the unfortunate nature of the story points to the need for transparency and accountability from within the industry.  
  • Did Marineland Mallorca know about the negative training sessions, and the creation of a hostile work environment?  What measures did they take to modify that situation? Were they aware other trainers had adopted the same methods that Mr. Barbero utilized?  
  • If Marineland knew, via complaints or otherwise that there was a problem, how could that not be conveyed to the Georgia Aquarium during their “exhaustive vetting” process?  Ironically, GA is conducting an investigation now, too late to impact the situation.
  • How does IMATA pave the road to reporting misbehavior, protecting those that report situations from retribution?   How does IMATA become a penetrating and effective organization for acting on behalf of the humane treatment of dolphins that exists within their protocols and mission statement?   How do they plan to protect those reporting situations of dolphin mistreatment?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Thursday, October 16, 2014

CLICKS&TWEETS 4 DOLPHINS - Twitter Media Outreach


Welcome to the Taiji Dolphin Action Group Twitter program.  This is not a traditional tweet deck, but a real time drive hunt Tweetstorm and the messages are directed exclusively to media, with little exception.  It’s fast-paced and very satisfying for the passionate activist. 

This program is aimed at global media outlets based on Cove Guardian tweets which occur in real time over the course of a hunt The real-time nature of the tweets will bring greater awareness of the inhumanity of the entire drive hunt process, from the cruel and physically damaging drive, to the separation of the pod, holding in the cove, the captives that are taken, the bloodshed of the elders dragged to the butcher house, the babies chased out to sea.  This is our chance to tell the world and to tell it as it happens.

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A TWITTER ACCOUNT, set one up and create a little profile.  Using a dolphin photo as your profile image quickly identifies you, along with a brief bio.  Here is a helpful link:

A number of TDAG members are already twitter users and would be happy to answer any questions you have along the way.  @bolloyoga, @rattusaustralis

Once you’re set up on Twitter, if you prefer to use a tweet aid until you get the hang of things, the TDAG TWITTER STARTER KIT  is at the end of the media address list section.

OBJECTIVE:  Contact and educate using the TDAG global media list using real time Taiji Cove Guardian tweets during dolphin hunts.  In this way, each user would tweet 10-20 times over the course of a hunt to each outlet, for the purpose of TRENDING.  Trending is created by lots of tweets using the same words/hashtags in a relatively short period of time. 

Why trend?  Media is a world of fast-paced action, always looking for relevant news, and Twitter helps news outlets see real time what people are communicating.  From TDAG founder, Steven Thompson:

"A series of significant conversations with mass media insiders took place yesterday. The topic was how to get dolphin hunt real time information into reporters hands and get it approved by editors. The answer was surprisingly simple: TWEET IT. Twitter is now the gold standard for how editors can prioritize the 100's of stories that cross their in-boxes every day.”

1.  FOLLOW COVE GUARDIANS ON TWITTER, THEN TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS.  By clicking/tapping the little wheel to the left of the "following" box, you will see the option menu.  This will deliver sound and text when CG tweets to whatever device you are using, desktop, pad, smartphone.  On your device, go to SETTINGS, SOUNDS, TWEET and choose your sound when a new tweet comes through.

2.  Starting with the first tweet of the hunt "boats out",
--Double click/tap the tweet and copy
--Click/tap the little feather in the right hand corner of the screen,
--Delete "@coveguardians" and paste
--Add #taiji_dag at the end and recopy
--Your new tweet now will look like this: 
        Boats leave harbor to hunt dolphins/whales #tweet4taiji #taiji_dag

--Now add as many media addresses as you can on the front end until you come as close to 140 characters as possible.  The auto-counter will tell you when you've gone over, or still have space. 

--Here is an example of your finished tweet:
      .@cnn .@cnni .@cnnbrk .@brisbanetimes .@CarolineKennedy .@latimes  Boats leave harbor to hunt dolphins/whales #tweet4taiji #taiji_DAG

--Tap or click the tweet button to send.

3,  Click/tap the feather again, paste and add the next 2-5 addresses in the list as space permits, and paste the same message as the first.  Repeat as fast as possible down the list of addresses until the next tweet from Cove Guardian and start all over again with the second tweet. 

It's very simple, and you can get into a rhythm pretty fast.  The goal is to run thru as many of the media addresses as possible with each tweet.  You are encouraged to run top to bottom, bottom to top, concentrate on a region, mix it up. 

NOTE:  A brief message is ideal.  That allows you to add more addresses on the front end of a tweet, and streamline the process, which aids trending.     Sometimes it is helpful to paraphrase the original tweet from CG.  For instance:

Watch the video on our Facebook page for the update on the captured pilot whales and their declining health.  #tweet4taiji

Watch video Cove Guardian FB Pg Captive pilot whales declining health #tweet4taiji #taiji_dag

Paraphrasing allows you to add 2 or more additional address to front of the paraphrased message, so you can work trough the addresses more quickly.  SPACES count towards the maximum 140 characters. 

RULE OF THUMB:  Remove unnecessary words spaces little/no punctuation use CAPS new sentence. 

WHY NOT JUST RETWEET? It sure would be easier, but not effective for this campaign.  When you retweet, you message your followers, but it will lack the media addresses and  IT DOES NOT COUNT TOWARDS TRENDING.  We can trend and trend regularly with a little teamwork.  We can get the word out to the world in a whole new way.

global media twitter address list by alpha
Australian Media Outlets

Australian Journalists



 Puerto Rico
 Turks and Caicos
 Dominican Republic
Virgin Islands US and British
 Cayman Islands 
 Hondurus Bay Islands
 Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao 
 St. Vincent, The Grenadines and Martinique
 Trinidad and Tobago 
 Antiqua and Barbuda 

CHINA (in progress)

Media Outlet

Media Outlet

HONG KONG (in progress)





Media Outlet

Media Outlet

UK Media Tweeters Top 50

Media Outlets

Major Journalists



As soon as @Coveguardians report that Taiji hunters have discovered a pod of dolphins, PLEASE START TWEETING to the MAJOR NEWS OUTLETS provided at the end of this tutorial.

--Use two hash tags at the end of your message: 
#tweet4taiji and #taiji_dag           

--ADD as many addresses to the front of your message as you can until you hit maximum, with is 140 characters.

--TWEETS SHOULD LOOK LIKE THIS.  This tweet is 136 characters including spaces.  You have a limit of 140 characters. 

@Cnni @CNNlive @CNN @CnnBrk @HLNTV @JVM @BBC @BBCbreaking @BBCOne @BBCWorld Dolphin pod driven toward Taiji SEP4 #Tweet4Taiji #taiji_dag

CHANGE YOUR TWEETS accordingly to CG tweets.  Here are some typical scenarios, which you can cut and paste. 
Pod fighting hard against killing boats
Pod has escaped Boats scatter all directions to regain control
Pod fighting hard for hours Exhausted Inhumane
Dolphin pod netted in killing cove Fate sealed
Dolphin pod separated for selection & slaughter
Slaughter begins Dolphins dragged to the beach
Dolphin bodies transported past captive family to butcher house
Dolphin babies dumped at sea to fend on their own

YOU CAN RETWEET, QUOTE OR FAVORITE someone else's tweets, BUT IT DOES NOT COUNT TOWARD TRENDING, which is the purpose of this program.  

Once you get your digits warmed up, know your way around Twitter, come join us in the expanded program.   We are providing real time hunt information.  It has relevance.   It is using Twitter effectively in your effort to alert the world.  From the team at TDAG, we thank you.    @bolloyoga @taiji_dag