If saving whales is a crime, arrest me, too.

by Josef

December 8, 2008

Here in Washington, DC, Monday morning commutes on the Metro can feel like a prison sentence.  So this past Monday morning, when over a dozen Greenpeace activists dressed in orange jumpsuits and boarded the Red line train to Dupont Circle, people probably had no idea what to think of us asking for a prison sentence of our own.

By the time our “chain gang” of fourteen reached the top of the escalators, we’d been joined by two whales carrying picket signs and Greenpeace USA’s esteemed executive director, John Passacantando.  We were heading to the Japanese chancery on Embassy Row with one message to the government of Japan:  If defending whales is a crime, then arrest us, too. 

On June 10th, 2008, the Japanese government arrested and detained two of my colleagues at Greenpeace Japan—Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki—for the “crime” of exposing a whale-meat embezzlement scandal.

an is going to start rounding up political prisoners for the crime of defending whales; they’re going to have to arrest a whole heaping lot of us.  Greenpeace and a number of environmental and human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Humane Society International see this as a political arrest.  We think that Japan should be investigating the embezzlement, and the whole illegal whaling operation, not those trying to draw attention to it.

In a matter of days on December 10, 2008, a group of executive directors from five Greenpeace national offices will travel to Japan to deliver their requests to Prime Minister Taro Aso of Japan.  This international delegation of Greenpeace executive directors will demand that Japan re-open the investigation of the whale meat scandal and of whaling itself.  And, like my fellow activists and I did this past Monday morning, these executive directors will put themselves forward as "co-defendants" with our colleagues Junichi and Toru.  December 10 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, and the declaration defines the rights of every human on the planet—including the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to a fair and public trial, and presumption of innocence.

Monday mornings might seem like our prison sentence, but our planet’s prison sentence lies in whaling and Japan’s jailing of average people like you, me, Junichi, and Toru, who are working hard to save the environment.  I hope you choose to join me and countless other activists around the world this week who are telling the Japanese government to arrest you, too, for the "crime" of saving the whales.

Your fellow activist,

Josef Palermo
Web Editor

By Josef

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