Remember World War II: Sea Shepherd Depicts Japanese As Uniquely Cruel & Dishonest

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    In response to yesterday’s blog post about the existence of racism and prejudice among opponents of Japanese whaling, some readers complained that I was focusing too much on the words of a anonymous internet lunatics. Why should Sea Shepherd be mentioned in connection with these extremists?

    Paul Watson and his organization do not openly resort to racism. But they do use arguments that stir up ugly racism and hatred. As Brendan O’Neill mentioned, anti-whalers have revived “World War II propaganda that tended to depict the Japanese as a uniquely wicked people.” The Sea Shepherd website is full of material that tells readers that the Japanese have a long history of brutality and dishonesty.

    Below are a few quotations from Sea Shepherd founder and president Paul Watson. All are taken from official articles posted on Sea Shepherd’s homepage.

    Paul Watson in November 2007:

    The Japanese say that whaling is a matter of national pride. What kind of sick perverse culture can take pride in the cruel and bloody slaughter of whales and dolphins? oh yes, I almost forgot, the same culture responsible for the Rape of Nanking and the beheading of Australian, American, Canadian and Dutch soldiers and civilians.

    Paul Watson in June 2006:

    The brutal killing of whales has become an icon for the Japanese identity. This is not unusual. Japan has always closely identified with blood and slaughter. From the decapitations by the Samurai upon innocent peasants to the suicidal insanity of the Kamikaze, violence and self destruction have been a part of Japanese culture.

    Paul Watson in October 2007:

    Almost half a million dolphins have died in the annual dolphin death drives. The bays run red with the hot blood of these screaming creatures as Japanese fishermen slash, stab, spear, and club the animals to death. Witnessing the slaughter and watching innocent children being fed poison is reminiscent of another era, a time that many of us thought had long past-the time of the Rape of Nanking, comfort women, medical experiments on humans, the Bataan death march-a time when Japanese ruthlessness shocked and horrified the world. And now this! This unimaginable horror! Every bit as disturbing as the events of a generation ago. And yet just like in pre-war Japan, the media are complicit, the public apathetic, and the politicians compromised.

    Paul Watson in May 2008:

    I guess we can add it to the long list of major conspiracies at the heart of Japan’s government like the rape of Nanking that apparently did not happen and “dolphins, what dolphins are being killed in Taiji?”

    Paul Watson in May 2006:

    This level of imperialist exploitation has not been seen since the Japanese army swept in and slaughtered the Chinese people and invaded their lands.

    Paul Watson in March 2008:

    this is the nation that still denies the Rape of Nanking, that still denies enslaving Korean and Chinese women as “comfort women,” that still denies torturing POW’s during the war, that still denies destroying the rainforests of Indonesia and over-fishing the world’s oceans. Japanese history is a chronicle of deceptions.

    Those interested in the Japanese government’s stance regarding war atrocities can check its official statements online: Rape of Nanking / Comfort Women / Prisoners of War

    Paul Watson in January 2010, comparing the wartime sinking of an Australian hospital ship to sinking of a Sea Shepherd ship:

    Nothing has changed much. The sinking of the Centaur, a hospital ship in 1943 was deliberate and it was a war crime that killed 278 Australians, yet Japan still to this day refuses to acknowledge responsibility in the face of overwhelming evidence. The same holds true for the sinking of the Ady Gil, no matter what evidence or the results of Australian and New Zealand investigations, Japan will refuse to acknowledge responsibility.

    ( It later came to light that Sea Shepherd members had deliberately scuttled the Ady Gil to “garner sympathy” towards their cause. )

    Paul Watson in April 2010, comparing Pete Bethune’s arrest for illegally boarding a Japanese ship to the wartime treatment of Allied POW’s:

    Bethune was not brought back to Japan as a criminal. He was brought back as a prisoner on the ship that had so viciously attacked him and when that ship arrived it was greeted with a nationalist rally of cheering and jeering Japanese right-wingers in the same manner as they cheered the marching of POW’s down the Kokoda Trail or through the streets of Tokyo in 1942.

    This was the first time since the Pacific War with Japan that an ANZAC soldier (Pete is a veteran) was transported back to Japan from the Southern Ocean after the sinking of his ship, and the first time that a prisoner was greeted with such jingoistic hatred. They treated him as a prisoner of war and that is exactly what he is.

    deny but encourage

    Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd will, of course, say that they do not condone racism and do not mean to denounce all Japanese people. But, whether intended or not, Sea Shepherd’s persistent use of World War II atrocities is extremely effective in encouraging the revival of old hatreds that existed in the 1940′s.

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