Monday, November 26, 2012

Keep the Taiji Dolphins in Your Prayers

Swimming Free away from Taiji

by Steven Thompson, TDAG 
November 27, 2012 

Are dolphins intelligent? Are dolphins spiritual? To those who those who are ready to give it a try. As you go to sleep or meditate today, please send a psychic message to the dolphin pod members who escaped today:


An entire pod of dolphins ESCAPED certain death today. They outsmarted the most ruthless technologically advanced dolphin murderers on the planet: the Taiji Killers, those who eat dolphins. There was no massacre today.

How do you think the escaped pod feels now? Happy? Exhausted? Did anyone die in the mad rush to escape? Are their hearts beating back to normal? Where will they swim to next?

Many of us sat on the edge of our seats waiting for the #tweet4taiji. We waited and waited...drank a cup a tea...felt like throwing up...not working...not sleeping...knowing the dolphins were swimming a race...a high speed marathon where there can only be one loser. And losing means you watch your friends and family get their throats cut or their spines pithed...blood still filling the water...screams piercing your soul...mothers and babies dragged by their tails, drowned in agony. This is the vision that may await the dolphins if they swim by Taiji.

Please envision the dolphins who escaped today, communicating with other dolphins to stay away from Taiji. Please envision the awareness of the Taiji hunt to spread among all dolphins everywhere. Please share the vision that dolphins must swim under the wall of sound and back out to sea.

Please tell the dolphins that you enough to stay away from Taiji. Taiji is no place for a happy and free dolphin.

Swim fast and free
Away from Taiji 
Under the sound and out to sea
Telling all dolphins is the key.

A big THANK YOU to the volunteers in Taiji today guarding the Cove and monitoring the hunt. Without groups like Sea Shepherd, Save Japan Dolphins, and individual dolphin activists all over the world, we simply wouldn't know.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Michael Q Todd: Falsely Arrested at the Cove--Now Free

Sweet Reunion
by Steven Thompson, TDAG 
November, 8, 2012

My friend Michael Q Todd, arrested at the Cove in Sept 16, got out of jail on provisional release yesterday.

His case is looking much better. It's not over...Michael still must appear back in Osaka for two more hearings...but it looks much better and is much easier on him and his supporters to look at his case from the outside.

Thank you for supporting Michael.

It looks like Michael WAS within the law, legally in Japan, when he was arrested. The police jumped the gun on Michael to arrest someone, anyone for any reason like they did with Erwin Vermeulen. The way he was treated so badly and even illegally in Shingu Wakayama by a mean-hearted police officer, is one of the things that has helped Michael get out, yet he paid a heavy penalty: 54 days in jail.  Please take care if you go to Taiji.

For him, his fiancée, myself, and hundreds of supporters, it is a day to celebrate!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Passionate Dolphin Activist Susan Mabe...Rests In Peace...October 29, 2012

Join young Susan Mabe for tea
by Steven Thompson, TDAG 
Oct. 30, 2012

A friend of dolphins and a friend of mine passed away today. As an Administrator here on the Taiji Dolphin Action Group, she was instrumental in keeping us a strong independent voice for Taiji dolphins. Her words and thoughts live on in her facebook page.
Passionate and loving woman

I have known Susan Mabe as tough and beautiful, angry and kind, logical and emotional and so connected to Cetaceans and the people involved. Her native American roots she discovered later in life and upscale medical family gave her a spiritual way of living and an analytical mind.

Intense front-line activist

Susan was quick with intelligence and honesty. She has helped me to be a better activist. May we all remember her. I feel she would want us to work hard, keep our facts straight and share our passions.

Thank you Susan for sharing your passions. You have made and will continue to make a difference in my life and the lives of many.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A new way to spread awareness about Taiji?

Hi all :-) I've been doing some thinking about more ways to spread awareness in our own Towns, States and possibly to Japan. My thought was what if we contact all of the Japanese restaurants either by asking to hang flyers, email them or post on Facebook pages (politely of course) I have recently posted on a few Fb pages of Japanese restaurants and two of them liked the post and kept it up on their page, I also tweeted a local restaurant owner and he Re-tweeted! Not a miracle but still it does help with spreading awareness. Basically I just mentioned The Dolphin slaughters in Taiji, Japan, if they have any relatives in Japan to please warn them of Mercury poisoning in the meat (just in case) and how they kill thousands yearly for no reason, their only crime? eating the fish, just swimming through Taiji ? I also added a video of one of the slaughters to show the extent the Fishermen go to in order to catch and kill these beautiful, sentient beings (that should tug at their heartstrings?) but you can add an article, a picture or whatever you feel will catch their eye. Best bet is finding Restaurants on Facebook and asking them to help us spread awareness of this appalling act, not only are we informing the restaurants but their patrons who like their page as well. By the way, I also mentioned the captivity bit in my posts and asked them to watch "The Cove" This may or may not work but aren't our Dolphin friends worth the effort?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Donate Now! Help Dolphin Mel and the Taiji 12 Get Up Again

Give a Helping Hand!

by Steven Thompson, TDAG 
Oct. 12, 2012

What do Dolphin Activists do once they get knocked down?


Urgent! This is a setback. This is the result of the investigation into the accidental statue bending. The seizing of all of this property is police harassment.  Money will fix it.

Donate now!

All 13 Sea Shepherds are having their camera SD cards, computers, and mobile phones confiscated RIGHT now. This is confirmed. I just spoke with Sea Shepherds in the Taiji area. The Taiji police told Mel to expect to be without equipment for up to two weeks, IF it gets returned at all.

Earmark funds for Taiji: The Dolphin Defense Campaign on the Sea Shepherd site. They must be re-supplied. I reckon they need about $4,000usd to keep us and the world aware.

Please post this over and over. Keep it at the top till Taiji Sea Shepherds get on their feet again.

This is the least we can we sit back and watch it least we can donate a little to keep them there.

For the Taiji Dolphins!

Note: I am not a member of Sea Shepherd, but I think they are doing a heck of a good job spreading outside pressure (gaiatsu) awareness to end the dolphin hunt. Please support the individuals using their own funds to get involved. Please support Japanese activist when you find them. They are ones who will end this. They are the ones who will create an alternative.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mel and the Twelve: The Dolphin Activist Experience of a Lifetime

Will the Cove Guardians be released soon?

by Steven Thompson, TDAG 
Oct. 11, 2012

Taiji Cove Guardian leader Melissa Sehgal and twelve other Sea Shepherds from Australia, Brazil, Germany, the UK, and the USA, are now being held for questioning in the Shingu police station and jail near Taiji, Japan. They have been detained since 10:00am today. It is now 16:10pm.

The Guardians reported that the hunt was unsuccessful today! Our friends must get out of detention in order to report on the hunt tomorrow. The world is watching.

It is assumed that this is in relation to the accidental damage to a statue of a man before he throws a harpoon at a defenseless dolphin or whale and the arrest of Nils Greskewitz for that mistake.

Please know this: the Sea Shepherd campaign in Taiji Japan works efficiently, organized with backup plans for predictable and even outrageous outcomes.

For all the times I have seen, contingencies are considered and worked out in advance. When the Cove Guardians were detained today, a one button call was certainly made that put a designated crew in several countries into action.

At this point, there is no hurry for information on our part. Either Mel and the Twelve are going to be held for anywhere from a day to 23 days or they will be let out soon. Japanese law allows the police to collude with a prosecutor and hold anyone, Japanese or other for almost two weeks incommunicado without access to friends or family or a lawyer. If this happens the Embassies can step in but rarely do.

Nils is another story of course. He will truly be lucky to not get deported after 23 days in solitary without ever seeing the sun.

If our other friends are let out soon, they will have had  brief but interesting stories of Japanese bureaucracy. If they are detained for longer, Taiji dolphin activism will move forward with a big powerful splash of her tail.

I was detained by the Shingu police when I was assaulted by the hunters. I went to report the assault, and the police bullied their way into my life, called my workplace and bullied my family. The pressure sent me back to Osaka that same day. We can expect this sort of pressure to be put on the 13 Cove Guardians and Nils too.

The Taiji police are doing what they do best: being pricks. They are defending the hunters and supporting the killing of innocent dolphins.

These 13 selfless Cove Guardian volunteers each have their own networks of hundreds or thousands of friends, families, and contacts. In a very short period of time, perhaps 10,000 will know if this "questioning" gets turned into jail time without charge or with some trumped up charge.

Either way, please know that outside pressure (Gaiatsu) works to spread the word of the crimes done to dolphins in Taiji. There are more Cove Guardians scheduled to arrive in the next few days. Rest assured, if Mel and the 12 are held for longer than a day, there will be a tsunami of Guardians getting on planes.

And we still need Japanese to step up for the inner pressure that will ultimately change things. Until then...please follow your inspiration to make a difference in the dolphin wars.

Please support Sea Shepherd. They have what it takes continue raising awareness and applying pressure. Please support other groups and individuals when they come to Taiji too. Please come to Taiji if you are ready for the activist experience of your life.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Baby Dolphins and Japanese Embassies

We save baby dolphins.

by Steven Thompson, TDAG 
Sept. 7, 2012

The next stage begins.

When the hunt is on and the dolphins haven't been netted yet, I hold a vision of escape: fast, far and free. Some dolphins are bound to escape. May they tell the tale to other dolphins to keep away from Taiji as scientists say they can.

When dolphins get roped into the Cove, it is time for the next stage: make the call to consulates and embassies and the people in charge. Get creative. Visit the embassies...remember the names of the people you talk with or meet with.

With a baby pilot whale in the Cove confirmed, our next step is clear. Please call any Japanese outlet and demand that at least the baby and his mother be saved. Killing a baby or pregnant female, even in a hunt, is murder.

This approach focus was suggested by a Japanese man in Taiji when Ric O'Barry and I showed The Cove in his home to him and his guests. He recommended an emotion approach after seeing the scene of the bloody baby dolphin swimming across the nets to diver Mandy-Rae Cruickshank "Japanese love dolphins; use this love to save them", he said.

Holding the pod overnight is rare now. It is an unusual opportunity. Please make calls every hour for the next 20 hours. Babies are the heart string. Play it!

Ask if there are any pregnant females. If Embassy officials don't know the answer, ask them to find out, you'll call back. Give them the numbers of the Mayor and the Taiji union in charge of the hunt. Give them the names.

Mayor SANGEN ,
Kazutaka Taiji Town Hall
Call: 073-559-2335
Fax: 073-559-2801

Mr. MATSUMOTO, Shuichi, President and
Mr. Shimetani (Private Space) Kazutoyo, Chief Butcher
Taiji Isana Union
Call: 073-559-2340
Fax: 073-559-2821
                                   (Add 81 for Int'l and drop the first zero)

Some may question the survivability of baby dolphins, and their mothers, pregnant females, and perhaps a few males. Dolphin scientist Diana Reiss told me that it is by no means certain that they will die. It is more possible that they will contact other dolphins and warn them! Baby dolphins have been released before with other remaining members of their pod when the pressure was on. Let's apply pressure any way we can!

Dolphin lovers, please place contact lists in the replies section in this document. Thank you.
For the baby dolphins and for all humanity!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

We Make Dolphins the Japanese Agenda

Mayor Sagen, Taiji, Japan talking about us

by Steven Thompson, TDAG 
Sept. 2, 2012

I got a telephone call today from a Japanese friend at the Cove today. Ric O'Barry and I showed the Cove (watch for free) at the home of our mutual friends in Taiji four years ago. We still have security issues for the Japanese. Violence is possible. Town shunning is par for the course. It's not easy to challenge the tradition of the-way-it's-always-been-done.

My friend cannot easily contact Sea Shepherd or Save Japan Dolphin activists directly. He has a message for them--he's happy you are here. Many Taiji people are happy you are here! The hunt gives their town a bad reputation. He is on good speaking terms with people in Taiji including hunters. It's a small friendly town.

The message to Cove Guardian, Melissa Sehgal, and Cove Monitor Tim Burns, is that the hunters are upset...he used the phrase "mecha okotteiru" (damn angry). Being here works. Thank you for coming! We could arrange a meeting sometime when the undercover police escort stops tailing you or you slip away.

The hunters get together at the Isana izakaya (bar) after their hands are clean. Deiter Hagmann with Atlantic Blue, got some good footage in the bar and we observed the Korean live dolphin export party when we got one of our tires sabotaged. The hunters also lounge around outside the union smoking cigarettes after they get cleaned up. They are happy to talk to people walking by, including non-Japanese. I have shared potato chips with them. They usually love to debate. Really. It's always a bit of rowdy fun. But today was different.

The media coverage...the heavy and constant police presence...the town meeting...Taiji will feel under siege for 6 months and today is just the second day. The news last night (Sept. 1, 2012) in Japan prime time covered the opening of dolphin killing season. The news anchor seemed more concerned about Sea Shepherd than the peacefully assembled Save Japan Dolphin Activists. Sea Shepherd has become the buzz word for those attacking Japanese "culture".

Activists around the world demonstrated in front of Japanese consulates and embassies. Now that we have activists reporting minute by minute from Taiji, we have taken over the Japanese agenda in every city where there are dolphin activists and a Japanese presence. We are the Japanese agenda.

One well-known hunter, SHIMETANI Kazutoyo (aka Private Space), who helps manage the day to day hunt and butchery, had no idea who he was talking to. He was angry. he even uses the F-word, in English of course. I interviewed him when he was following me around with a video camera when I was alone at the Cove. When I turned my camera off, he started talking. Shimetani san really is a nice guy. He has a good heart. He isn't evil. His soul is not corrupted. I think he is just following tradition, and extremely misguided.

I hope he doesn't have a heart attack. I hope he sees the light and saves baby dolphins and pregnant females at least.

The hunters have gone back after killing and released babies, pregnant females, and a few males when we protested two years ago. It's a time consuming reverse process of banging the poles and pushing frighted dolphins out near international waters. Of course they may be intelligent and warn other dolphins to stay away (I think they did...the hunt numbers are down as a result). When the hunters do make the decision not kill every male, female, and baby, Taiji will not be known as the dolphin baby killing capital of Japan. There are more options for Taiji than following tradition blindly. Please demand that that the dolphins save the babies and pregnant females. This is the strategy recommended to us by trusted Japanese people.

I recommend a letter writing campaign too--it has certainly worked for Amnesy International: Identify the people doing bad things, and inundate them with mail. The wonderful thing about post offices is that they will hand deliver your message. These are the men most responsible for dolphin deaths in Japan.

Let's all write a letter every week to:

1. Mayor SANGEN Kazutaka at the Taiji Town Office

Taiji Town Office 3767-1, Taiji, Taiji-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama 649-5171  Japan

2. Mr. SHIMETANI Kazutoyo, Chief Butcher, at the Isana Union.

Taiji Isana Union 3167-7, Taiji, Taiji-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama 649-5171  Japan

Also consider writing to
3. Mr. MATSUMOTO Shuichi, the President of the Taiji Isana Union (Gyo Gyo Kumiai). Same address as Mr. Shimetani.

Taiji Isana Union 3167-7, Taiji, Taiji-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama 649-5171  Japan

Consulates and Embassies
The staff at these offices exist to answer our questions. Please ask them if they could advocate for the baby dolphins. You can call in English anytime. Many have 24 hour numbers.

If they don't have the telephone number to call off the hunt, you can give it to them.

Mayor Sangen                                          
Taiji Town Hall                                               Taiji Isana Union (Gyo Gyo Kumiai)
Call: 0735592335                                            Call: 0735592340
Fax: 0735592801                                            Fax: 0735592821
Add 81 for Int'l and drop the first zero

The alternative to the killing is to hold a new vision for Taiji...a beautiful Taiji...maybe with wild dolphins happy to interact in the open seas.

Dolphins can be so forgiving.
They will help.
Give 'em a chance.
First, save their lives.

For the Taiji Dolphins!

Note: I am not a member of Sea Shepherd or Save Japan Dolphins, but I think they are doing a heck of a good job spreading outside pressure (gaiatsu) awareness to end the dolphin hunt. Please support the individuals using their own funds to get involved. Please support Japanese activist when you find them. They are ones who will end this. They are the ones who will create an alternative.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Paul Watson Rumors

Freer by the day!

by Steven Thompson, TDAG
Find Pauldo!  Has he jumped bail?  Is he on the lamb?  Is he saving lambs now?

Rumor has been proven false by German conservationists working behind the scenes.

Paul Watson most certainly did NOT jump bail.

Reading is such fun...rumors fly...the challenge to confirm or deny gives some of us something to do.

Some highly detailed speculation in Costa Rica here by people who could be uncovering the actual criminal finner links instead.

If I had a chance to bet on the case, I'd say the case will fade away by Costa Rican finners' inaction in about 17 days.

Take a vacation! Watch Moby! There is no news!
ERROR CORRECTION: We were wrong. Capt. Paul Watson found it necessary to leave Germany and forfeit his bail money. His current whereabouts are unknown. We wish him happiness, and the best of luck. We will carry on your work!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

President Laura Chinchilla: Help! Costa Rican activists attacked

Will President Laura Chinchilla do the right thing? 
By Steven Thompson
Last night, another Costa Rican ocean activist was attacked. The details of the attack (and three previous criminal attacks), cannot be published at this time. We are weak. We are losing. We need help. We don't have enough power to handle the blowback. They might end up in jail. This is the two edged sword of exposure. This person is my friend. It makes me angry. It motivates me to call for more people to get involved.

The group brought together in CR after the Incopesca post, started comparing stories. It looks like they have each been physically assaulted or had property destroyed or their life threatened or all of the above at some recent time. These are regular people under extraordinary stress. They stood up for wildlife or against extradition. It is almost too dangerous for them to work in Costa Rica at this time. They need people in CR who can support them and grow. They need help from people outside of Costa Rica to spread awareness.

If you have any feelings toward the illegal whaling industry, dolphin killers, shark finners, or those that plunder the oceans in other ways, be very aware: violence has started against one of the key people saving our oceans in Costa Rica. Most of us sit safely at our computers, going to work, going to Starbucks, wondering what to do. Very few of us can influence what happens in Costa Rica or with their extradition request to Germany for Paul Watson.

If you do have friends in CR, we need their help. If you have special skills or connections, please use them. I can send you where you can help. I can be easily contacted through the Facebook group: The Taiji Dolphin Action Group.

I know there are a few people holding back, those with special connections or input...I heard about one in our circle who knew a retired pro-baseball player living in CR. If contacting your friends like this speaks to your heart, please do it. Paul needs as much help as he can get.

Another way is to simply call Sea Shepherd and donate to their budding Costa Rica Campaign. I am not a Sea Shepherd member, I just know that they are on the front line on this. It is their ass on the line. This current request by President Laura Chinchilla for extradition could mean Paul locked up in one of her jails, where prisoners are reportedly beaten to death and trial conditions are not far from being a Banana Republic (Please read this Costa Rica-US Dept. of State Document start from page 2).

If you have a contact, please start talking with him or her so that we can be prepared when and if Paul does actually get extradited. At this point I would be surprised if Paul Watson does not stand trial in Costa Rica.

Hold on tight. The next two and a half months, till the extradition is concluded in some way, are sure to be wild.

We will not sit back.
We go to war to fight to save even one.
We have to fight.
Fight together!

For the Oceans and for us!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Incopesca in Costa Rica may be driving the Paul Watson arrest

A corrupt root of shark fin soup?
By Steven Thompson
Friends in Costa Rica strongly believe that Sea Shepherd Paul Watson's arrest in Germany is linked directly to the corrupt work of Incopesca, the Costa Rican Fishing Institute, a Quasi-gov't organization in CR run by finners and long-liners. Incopesca is putting the national government between them and the growing international outrage at Paul's arrest.

Please do not fire on Costa Rica. There is currently massive local opposition to extraditing Paul to CR. A possibly significant point: it has not been found whether Germany actually has an extradition treaty with Costa Rica or not. Japan and Germany do not. Why would Germany and CR? Can anyone find out please?

We still need help digging though. Go for the guts of Incopesca if you can and see what slime comes up. We are looking for probable ties to the Japanese Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) and a myriad of shark fin interests in Costa Rica. This should not be hard to find. Please share what information you find so that all can keep pulling at the loose strings until it unravels.

There is a curious coincidence of dates regarding the extradition renewal request and the ICR sponsored lawsuit in Washington State. This is what has brought the ICR into suspicion for involvement here, not to mention their multi-million dollar budget and their statements that Sea Shepherd is their major oppositon.

The Germans are covering their tracks better. Please look for ICR links in Germany and shark fin supply routes to restaurants. If anyone finds shark fin being served in any Frankfurt or German restaurant we may be getting close. Those restaurant menus need to be changed.

I'm just scratching the surface here. It looks to me like the Incopesca wording was edited out of the Wikipedia link below. Search: "Incopesca wikipedia".

Please read Wikipedia page that stays up. It looks like the issue behind Paul's arrest is shark fin soup.

We are at the point, after they ignored us and laughed at us. Now they are fighting us--Paul is facing trial and the prospect of disappearing into a Costa Rican jail.

May we fight smart and win release for Paul!

For the Oceans!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sea Shepherd Paul Watson Arrest Day 1

Release Paul Watson

by Steven Thompson
Yesterday, Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson was arrested in Frankfurt by silly Germans for freeing beautiful sharks from corrupt Costa Ricans working for selfish Taiwanese ocean killers.

History is being made. In 7 hours, the German court offices will open. People behind the scenes including European Parliament Vice President Daniel Cohn Bendit and the European deputy Jose Bove have probably been up most of the night negotiating the release of Paul Watson. SSCS Germany will lead with SSCS organized actions. They are waiting to see if he is released in the next 12 hours.

This is a time for those who live in Germany to test their activist skills and put pressure on the puerile Polizei who arrested Paul and those who keep him locked up. Paul went head to head with Taiwanese mafia shark poachers in Costa Rica. That's not a crime. That's cause to receive a Knighthood or an international award.

If you live in Frankfurt, take an emergency day off of work and go to the court house and document this historic moment. Go to the airport and find out who arrested him. Post the names. Get their pictures.

Dig deep! Who in the German immigration and police and judiciary kisses the asses of multi-millionaire Taiwanese shark poachers?

They exposed themselves when they had Paul arrested. Pop them into the light!

Sea Shepherd's goal here is probably to free Paul first. There is nothing stopping independent Sea Shepherd loving activists from working any angle they see. What you uncover and share may be helpful to the future of our planet.

Read more:

                  Sea Shepherd

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Taiji Tourist Visa

Is saving dolphins a form of tourism?

By Steven Thompson
March 18, 2012

This youtube video shows members of the Zaitokukai (anti-Korean) group. After they spit at a Sea Shepherd vehicle in Taiji, they went to Osaka to push Immigration officials to keep Sea Shepherd "terrorists" out of the country. The officials seemed to humor the Zaitokukai members by meeting them outside of their office. The Zaitokukai filmed themselves doing this and uploaded it on the internet. The French Zen Master put in on youtube for easier access.

I feel that the Zaitokukai's work helps spread the word of the dolphin hunts and encourages more Japanese officials to join in helping the hunts to end.

If Sea Shepherd were demanding to end nuclear power or guarantee absolutely safe radiation free food, it would be an impossible situation. The well-known journalist, Christopher Johnson, probably got rejected re-entry into Japan this year because he was reporting the truth on nuclear issues.  The Japanese government, as it currently exists, could never meet these demands. Chris Johnson made enemies and offered them no way out.

But as things stand, it is not all that difficult to help end the killing of dolphins now costing more and more in security costs and stress on the little Taiji town. The Zaitokukai involvement helps to increase security costs.

Zaitokukai Banzai!
Long Live Silly Japanese Bullies!

The more people who want Sea Shepherds to leave Japan, the better.

End the hunt, and they will leave.

Still, Sea Shepherds and all dolphin activists will need to watch their backs especially if there is any taint of getting paid to be in Japan. That would mean they would need a work visa.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wackos at the Cove

 Taiji Front Lines

Chaos to Kushimoto
By Steven Thompson
March 13, 2012

The situation in Taiji has gone from End-of-the-Season Sayonara to Wacko-Fest Extravaganza at the Cove.

Make some popcorn, get a drink. It's only going to get more interesting in our quest to save the dolphins.

Yesterday, right-wing nationalists spit what looks like chocolate sauce all over a Cove Guardian's car. This has confirmed three things for me.

1. Right Wingers are silly
2. Japanese police need better planning
3. Cove Guardian strategy works

A few car loads of Japanese wannabe gangsters looked like drunken toddlers as they spit brown goo, displayed their middle fingers, and stuck out their tongues as they pushed around Taiji's finest boys in blue, one day after the more heavily armed prefectural police went home for the season.

The Taiji situation has gone beyond my imagination. If the nationalists had not come to show their tongues and fingers, nothing would have happened in Taiji and the Cove Guardians would have inevitably gone home till September.

But now that the Zaitokukai has sent the special Kansai Club to Taiji, any activist keen to get more involved will and should send resources to Sea Shepherd or Save Japan Dolphins, or they will go to Taiji and join the fun.

Can you say Zaitokukai and smile at the same time? Try it. Slowly. Zai--to--ku--kai...Zai--to--ku--kai.

It always ends with a falling diphthong sound mirroring the fall of nationalism in Japan after World War II. Right Wing groups are a shadow of their former selves. They would be more relevant wearing clown noses and spraying silly string in the air.  But they do piss people off. Yesterday they pissed off the 50 police focusing on Taiji.

Last season the police looked silly when they couldn't move a meditating Cove Guardian zen master. The police held a multi-day training seminar for a battalion of uniformed and undercover detectives. This season the Japanese police were overwhelmed by a ragtag group of Japanese bullies. There is only one way to go for next year: more preparation.

If the Taiji establishment decides to continue to murder dolphins, Cove Guardians will be back and better funded than ever before. This means that the security expenses to the local economy will soon outweigh the cost of the hunt. Who will look silly then?

Thank you Zaitokukai! 

The Japanese nationalists have made themselves part of the problem. The Cove Guardians are clearly part of the solution.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Erwin Vermeulen: Not only legally free

Scott West (L) shakes hands with Erwin Vermeulen
By Steven Thompson
March 6, 2012

Erwin Vermeulen won his case in court two weeks ago on February 22, 2012. Yet one question remained: would the prosecutor exercise her right to appeal? She had two weeks to do so...she waited the full two weeks to announce.

The Wakayama prosecutor's office confirms that Erwin is not only legally free, he is also morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably FREE.

Thank you Erwin for your Dolphin Disobedience. Enjoy your time in America. You deserve it!

Dolphin lovers dance!
Pirates take the chance!
There is still so far to advance.

First, Erwin's lawyers will decide how to advance the case against his accuser for forcing Erwin to be in jail for 64 days based on a lie. This will be news that will be ongoing.

Second, there are still six Cove Guardian volunteers in Taiji getting up every morning facing a large police presence. This may be the year that dolphin lovers occupy year round! But this is far from certain. Please help make it happen. Please donate and earmark for Taiji.

Sea Shepherd Campaign Coordinator, Melissa Sehgal, reports from Taiji today that all killing boat activities are still being monitored everyday. All captive dolphins are also monitored in every location, especially the sick dolphin in the harbor pen, Harbie, being tube fed every day. I hope she is given better medical attention and then freed with all the other dolphins locked up there.

Finally, are you looking to add your effort to the cause? Watch the Cove and contact those responsible for killing the dolphins. Go to Taiji or support someone who can. Thank you all for caring.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Erwin Rocks Japan, Engulfs Holland

Erwin Vermeulen found innocent Feb. 22, 2012
By Steven Thompson

Good media coverage on Erwin rocks Japan, even if they do still use the whaling word and avoid any mention of dolphins. Thank you Japanese media.

Amazing coverage engages the entire population of the Netherlands. Her Majesty Beatrix is reported to have been made aware of the human rights issues in Erwin's case. And Erwin hasn't even started on the Amsterdam press circuit yet. That all starts in the next 24 hours. All dolphin lovers offer a sincere thanks to the Dutch media and the Dutch government.

Stories have spun wildly and happily out of control. There will never be a way to repair the image of the police oppressing an emaciated, honest, and non-violent Dutch citizen protecting the even weaker members of the seas, the beautiful dolphins.

An interview with a Dutch tourist in Spain today came out with the understanding that Erwin had received no hot meals and was forced to be in solitary confinement. Neither is true, but the way it was all handled by the accuser, his boss and the police give rise to endless exaggeration on a personal level. The story will continually mutate around the coffee tables of Amsterdam for years to come.

Thank you Dolphin Resort Hotel! Thank you Mr. Kitagawa! Thank you Taiji and Shingu and Wakayama police. You could have ended the circus earlier but chose not to.

Remember that meeting? You all voted to continue the charade as yes-men for the Governor of Wakayama and his deputy, the Mayor of Munchkin City, I mean Taiji.

Gauging the impact of the new media coverage and the acquittal is what I'm thinking about. How deeply will Sea Shepherd's win in court affect the outcome of the dolphin hunt?

This discussion will be in flux as meetings and more press conferences get held over the next week. The next press conference is in Amsterdam. Both sides are certain to spin it for themselves. But one thing is clear: times have changed.

People around the world are certainly more engaged, but no country is now more engaged than Holland. I get the feeling that the Sea Shepherd flags will safely be Dutch permanently. Thank you Madame Prosecutor.

Dutchman Erwin Vermeulen, paid any balance due to cover the stress of the Dutch government for Sea Shepherd support with his 64 Days of inhumane treatment in a Japanese jail for doing nothing more than loving dolphins. The witness was judged to have lied. No pushing occurred. Dutch people protect their own and now this includes Taiji dolphins. Thank you Judge.

As I noted a few days ago in the TAG Blog:

"The Dolphin Slave Resort owner, their young cry-wolf dolphin trainer Kitagawa, the Japanese police at three levels (Taiji, Shingu, Wakayama), and Ms. I-want-Erwin-in-jail-one-more-day Prosecutor, clearly, obviously, and very publicly screwed the pooch."

My feeling is that that cute little Japanese puppy was Japan. And that she didn't like it very much. The politicians and business people who deal in dolphin death look pretty incompetent to the Japanese establishment. And then there is the money.

Budget negotiation in Japan for next year's national subsidy on Cetacean meat and the massive Taiji police and Coast Guard presence, and the whole Institute for Cetacean Research folly will occur every day all the month of March for a decision by the beginning of April.

My dolphin drumbeat until the end of March is: No more money for the Taiji hunt. Try it: 9 beats--pat your knees or the table in front of you.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Celebrate for Erwin and the Dolphins...Tokyo Tomorrow

Scott West and Erwin Vermeulen 2/22/12
By Steven Thompson
February 23, 2012 in Japan

Thank your Dolphin Lovers!

Historic teamwork here. When Sea Shepherds and I were coming out of the court, we were in telephone contact, posting on TDAG and Sea Shepherd sites.  All of us here who care so much and are invested so deeply, shared in the joy and continue to share the happiness. It really was something's ideal for growth, making deeper connections, cross-pollination and hope for ending the hunt.

There will always be a next step, and a next emergency, but now is the time for many to enjoy our success.

This year, I have usually supported in the background, but yesterday, observing the front lines, meeting new people, sparring with reporters. It was fun...then more fun--Party Time!

We enjoyed vegan food in Wakayama City...the ONLY vegan restaurant in Wakayama...if the translator had not been a vegetarian, we would not have been there. We toasted a cup of pirate rum to the freedom of dolphins and to Erwin. Even the lawyer imbibed! I could not have dreamt up better people or a better time. We laughed to irreverent piracy and plans for the future.

Next up, to slowly wrap our minds around, is year-round occupation. There are groups working hard on this. Join in privately if you feel the call. If you want to live in the Taiji area, please contact us.

Next up in my mind, is the Tokyo Press Conference. In 24 hours, Friday, Feb. 24th at 3:00pm. Erwin Vermeulen, Scott West, and the lead attorney, Mr. Iwao Takayama, possibly the best trial lawyer in Japan, will give a press conference in Tokyo at the Foreign Correspondents' Club.

Thank you for loving dolphins, thank you for working together.

Dolphins Win the Day in Court

Erwin Vermeulen and Scott West 
By Steven Thompson
Wakayama, Japan

February 23, 2012

All are just beginning to calculate the implications. But, one thing is clear: The dolphins won yesterday. A watershed moment exploded for all of us in the Free Dolphins Movement.

What happened yesterday, with an innocent ruling for Erwin Vermeulen in Japanese court, was much more than just our friend Erwin going free. The shock passing through all sides will be felt like the Earth's crust heaving a meter or two as we try to help each other.

New stories will come out in the near future. There are new players, or significant players in the dolphin issue whom I did not know about. Several came forward yesterday, poking their heads out for just long enough to see that the field is wider and deeper than I expected. There are at least six new stories I will cover in the following weeks. These stories exist because Sea Shepherd has committed to be in Taiji until the dolphin hunt stops. I cannot thank them enough.

The story of the Second Dutchman in the courtroom yesterday will come out. He helped me understand more in 10 minutes about the social and political issues in the dolphin issues than I have learned in the last four years.

The story of the Japanese Police supporting Erwin will come out. This telephone conversation was completely unexpected.

The media involvement has also never been this focused. I feel this was an immense change for them too. In a turnaround, I got to interview the reporters, as a captive audience, as we waited outside the court building for an hour, in line for an entry ticket. The reporters have been prevented from reporting on the dolphin issues by nationalist-agenda editors. This may change now.

The story of Scott West will be told in time. If he had not been such a hardheaded professional, this would certainly have had a very different outcome. Scott deserves the title and respect of Captain. He has effectively steered a ship called Infinite Patience, in a Japanese sea of chaos.

I also spoke to a friend of the accuser yesterday, a friend of Mr. Kitagawa. This is a first I believe--no one has heard the story in detail from the dolphin trainer's point of view. There is more here than we realize. Much more.

Finally, I spoke with Erwin at length. We will not see Erwin fade off of the stage anytime soon. Tomorrow will be a momentous occasion for Erwin. After 73 days of being kept from his job, he will legally be able to go back to work. Two hours from now, Erwin will be back in Taiji, defending the dolphins' right to live. Thank you Erwin, for your love of life and your endurance throughout this ordeal.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Judgment Day for Erwin Vermeulen

Innocent or guilty, we'll see you in Taiji.

By Steven Thompson

It's Judgment Day for Erwin Vermeulen tomorrow.

On Wednesday, February 22nd, the verdict will be announced in Wakayama District Court in the case of Kitagawa vs Vermeulen. Court will be called to order at 11:00am.

The judge will decide whether Erwin Vermeulen is guilty or innocent of pushing Mr. Kitagawa.

I will be there along with many supporters from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Save Japan Dolphins.. A large media presence is expected. I have heard that Private Space may attend. Certainly the Taiji police and the hunters' union will be represented. It is expected to be a lively day for a jig together.

Being with this group of Eco-pirates is always somewhat of a surreal experience for me. Irreverent humor prevails. Tomorrow has been named as Erwin's Hanging Day. Just like in the movies, it would be without precedent for a pirate worth his salt to miss his own hanging day. I expect Erwin will be there smiling, no matter what. My feeling is that he is looking forward to it all.

The best that could happen is for Erwin to be found innocent."Muzai" is the word in Japanese. It is my mantra for the next 18 hours.

What will an innocent verdict mean?

It will mean that the Dolphin Slave Resort owner, their young cry-wolf dolphin trainer Kitagawa, the Japanese police at three levels (Taiji, Shingu, Wakayama), and Ms. I-want-Erwin-in-jail-one-more-day Prosecutor, clearly, obviously, and very publicly screwed the pooch.

While obvious to us that Erwin is innocent, it is not obvious to the Japanese public. An innocent verdict will speak volumes to the Japanese that dolphin lovers are good people.

For dolphin lovers, who already know they are good, Taiji has become a renewed focus because of Erwin's imprisonment. The attempted oppression of Erwin has effectively spread awareness of the dolphin hunt. I cannot thank the authorities enough for this service.

What would a guilty verdict mean?

I don't think that a guilty verdict will change a thing for us. Since Ms. Prosecutor has limited her request from prison time to a small fine, there is now no expectation that Erwin will not get to go home shortly.  Either way, Erwin flies home with friends to his family.

The worst case, a guilty verdict, in my estimation, will just encourage legions of Eco-activists to come to Taiji to see the place where the alleged assault took place. If the alleged assault really happened, wouldn't you like to walk in Erwin's footsteps?  Maybe we can find the evidence of guilt that has so far eluded Japan's finest.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Erwin Vermeulen: Free and Thankful

By Steven Thompson

I got a message today from Erwin. It's the same as it states in the SSCS releases. Erwin said he is overwhelmed by the support. Thanks! That's it.

I have never seen as tight a lid on information for Taiji as now.

As reported yesterday in TDAG by those asking the questions that need to be asked, it is now confirmed that Erwin will not be going to Taiji. He will be on the best behavior that any pirate can be around 15 other pirates in the neighboring town of Kii-Katsuura.

I don't expect any news till Feb 22nd. Join us then from 11:00AM as we do a jig and make good fun of those who thought they could keep dolphin lovers down by arresting them.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Erwin Vermeulen: Japanese Political Show Trial?

Erwin Vermeulen: Japanese Political Show Trial?
 By Steven Thompson

Today, in closing arguments, lawyers for the defense railed against the prosecution case citing example after example of how the prosecution failed to prove any allegation of assault against the dolphin trainer. No photo, video or witnesses provide evidence to link Erwin Vermeulen to any violence of any kind. 

 1. A key defense witness testified that Erwin had his hands full with a long-lens camera in his left hand and a walkie-talkie in his right. So, pushing of any sort could not have been done with his hands as the prosecutor claimed.

2. No DNA evidence was found on the alleged victim's jacket. 

3. No bruise or scratch was apparent on the victim's body.
In closing arguments, the lawyer for the prosecution started to back-pedal. No longer asking for a prison sentence, they humbly ask that Erwin be fined 100,000 yen (approx. 1,276usd). It is starting to look like the Taiji police officer in charge of the arrest may be thinking about a career change.

The verdict will be announced on February 22nd. Please join me: let's envision justice for Erwin and the dolphins. Set Erwin free to enjoy his last few days in Japan before his visa runs out. Let the dolphin hunters and trainers know that we will not go away.
However, don't hold your breath for Erwin being found innocent...a country that can imprison an obviously innocent person for 72 days, could come up with anything.

Dolphin Defender's Last Day in Court

BY Steven Thompson

                                                Picture Provided by Pilar Posada
 “If you see a good fight, get in it and fight to win it!” ~Ralph Abernathy's Dad

Erwin Vermeulen will have his last day in court tomorrow, Feb 16th at 10:00am. The Verdict Day, will be Feb 22nd.

This is the time when Erwin's defense team will give their closing arguments for Erwin's release from jail. The prosecution will state their case for encouraging the judge to give Erwin the maximum sentence: 2 years in prison and a fine.

I understood from my conversation with Erwin at the Wakayama Detention Center that he sees himself as a civil AND dolphin rights activist . He seemed happy that the world is watching and that supporters are looking at more ways to do what they do best. 

Let us all do what we do best to end the dolphin hunt.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nothing Like a Nice Ass

By Steven Thompson

                                          Dolphin Defenders Taiji 2010

So why is TDAG kissing Sea Shepherd ass?
A: Sea Shepherd needs the love? 
B: TDAG is Sea Shepherd? 
C: Sea Shepherds have nice asses?

The conversation yesterday hit a zenith (or nadir) of name calling between those who love dolphins favoring a less aggressive approach and those who love dolphins favoring an in-your-face, give 'em hell, approach. 

The "you are a banana" and "you slipped on a banana" comments got me laughing out loud. Were you reading at the time? Entertaining at least, helping the dolphins, status unknown. 

Actually TDAG hasn't changed. The TDAG position on groups and individuals is still the same: We will support all legal approaches to end the hunt. Our focus is on the ground in Taiji.

We do attract a wide audience, however. Taiji and Wakayama police are known to frequent our page. Pro-hunt individuals who come out straight are welcomed. Even people I can't stand (very few) are welcome if they are actually looking for solutions. We believe that individuals are the key to ending the hunt. We encourage individual action at a local level. In Japan, we support those with boots on the ground in Taiji. It is not easy to witness and report on this much death of those we love.

What we have on the ground, is Erwin Vermeulen currently iin jail for no other reason than helping dolphins. We have our first bona fide case of Civil Disobedience happening right here, right now, everyday at least until Feb 22nd.

One of our goals is to free Erwin. This is a top priority and that means supporting those in his group very strongly till at least Feb. 22nd and through the trial aftermath. He is the only dolphin activist in the world currently in jail for working to end the dolphin hunt. AND it is obvious to me that he is in on trumped up charges.

 I hope you understand. I hope you stay at TDAG and share your positive thoughts for ending the hunt. I hope all dolphin lovers support Erwin and Sea Shepherd during this very challenging time for the organization itself and for Erwin and his family.

Much love,
TDAG Co-founder

No Justice in Taiji for Dolphin Defenders

By Steven Thompson
                     Mr. Masayuki Miyoshi Accosting Rosie Kunneke SSCS Photo
                                       Provided by Martyn Stewart

SSCS Update last week...Feb 3rd including the right wing video in Taiji is hard hitting and clearly shows the ground from the activist perspective. There is nothing hidden and there is not much more to it.
 Calling the Wakayama Prefecture Prosecutor’s Office a "joke" is perhaps what sent 10 or more EXTRA prefecture police to Taiji today and seized the radios. It is too bad Sea Shepherd members were not arrested. Mr Masayuki Miyoshi, is the menace to society who attacked Rosie and Tarah. He also smacked the heck out of me.
Video Provided by Steven Thompson

Monday, February 6, 2012

Interview at a Japanese Jail: Dolphin Defender, Erwin Vermeulen

By Steven Thompson, February 6, 2012  

          Picture of Wakayama Detention Center Provided By Steven Thompson

Wakayama Detention Center, the left door is the entry where the reading materials are checked for contraband. Personal messages are not allowed. Visitors register their names and addresses. We left our cameras and muzzle loaders in lockers provided free of charge. (Picture provided by Steven Thompson)

I met Erwin Vermeulen today at the Wakayama Detention Center, his home at least until February 22nd (photo above). By then, he will have been incarcerated for 70 days for an alleged pushing incident without evidence of any sort.

I went with dedicated activists Scott West and Melissa Sehgal, Cove Guardians working with Sea Shepherd in Taiji Japan. We spoke through glass with an English speaking guard taking notes.

We had a limited time to talk. Erwin can get just one visit per day from up to three people. What would you tell Erwin...ask Erwin if you had the chance and fifteen minutes? We had to talk quickly.

Erwin looked gaunt and pale and hairy. We all touched hands through the glass in the small cold room. We smiled. The guard sat to Erwin's left with a white mask covering his expressions.

We shared personal messages which had been emailed from his girlfriend, family and friends, and even fellow Dutch countryman, Rutger Hauer. which seemed to surprise Erwin. Erwin answered the messages. We shared news of the recent candle light vigils and the messages being collected for him to read later. We took notes. We joked. 

Being around Cove Guardians is fun. After having seen so much death, laughter comes quickly or you don't survive well. Cove Guardians including Erwin see humor in an obviously difficult situation. 

Erwin didn't want another sweater because he said that he was already bundled up like the Michelin Man, or a bearded Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Are you smiling? We were.

He would write more, he said, if he knew that he could keep it. His last writings have been confiscated by Shingu Police. He could have taken his diary with him if every word had been translated from Dutch to Japanese. The Dutch Embassy couldn't find a translator for Erwin; how could Erwin find one? Funny guys those Shigu police officers.

We shared a Dutch news article of the Dutch Parliament's plans to show The Cove movie and increase support for dolphins and whales, all facilitated because of Erwin's inhumane incarceration. We laughed some more. 

Erwin's eyes focused intently on each of us as we spoke in turn. 

There doesn't seem to be anything particularly complicated about Erwin. He loves his family and friends and dolphin and whales intensely. He asked for news from Taiji and from the Southern Ocean Campaign. He asked if he would have the chance to go back to Taiji? We changed the topic. 

Erwin gets up at 7:00am sharp, makes his bed in the freezing cold, and is passed a breakfast tray through a small door from a white mask wearing uncommunicative guard. He is allowed to dump hot water over his body twice a week in a sort of bath and leave his solitary cell once a day for 30 minutes of outside air. He can make his bed to lie more comfortably and warmly only after 4pm. Upbeat music including western tunes are piped into his cell for 6-9pm. I forgot to ask him when he goes to sleep.

He enjoys reading. We brought him nine more books and recent newspapers. His favorite books: Civil Disobedience by Thoreau, The Tao of Pooh and the short stories of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. He seemed tuned in to the impact potential of his incarceration. He has a lot of time to think. 

His food is better than the Shingu hell-hole, but he still feels very much a prisoner. Turning back to the positive: he said he waits attentively for bread, once every five days. He gets to drink soy milk regularly and he occasionally gets a veggie burger. The guard was proud of this and heartily chimed in through his white mask. His English: very good.

Erwin was deeply hopeful that his jail time would be motivational to others to get involved to end the Taiji dolphin hunt. He did not seem like he knew what to do with being so well-known by so many. 

Erwin's stoic message for supporters: "I'm still fine. I'll be back whenever they let me go. Thank you for thinking of me and supporting me and the dolphins. I'm glad that I'm not here for nothing".

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dolphin Defender Supported by Rutger Hauer Film Star

By Steven Thompson

Rutger Hauer Actor and Activist

Rutger Came Through! The discussion on Taiji Dolphin Action Group on Facebook for Erwin Vermeulen and the dolphins hit a wonderful breakthrough. Rutger Hauer, actor and activist, came through with a message for Erwin that we will deliver this week. Rutger clearly supports Cove Guardians.
Thank you TDAG'ers! As always, it is a team effort: the suggestions, the brainstorming, the creativity, the hard work!
Rutger has been deeply affected by fellow Dutch countryman's sacrifice in a Japanese prison and the unjust de facto 70 day jail sentence till at least Feb. 22nd and risk of two more years in a damp cold cell. 
For the dolphins and for us...Till the end of the hunt!