Shark Bait Blog

Environment.. and Scuba Diving.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Whalegate -

Anthony Liverpool's IWC credibility lies in tatters -

Japanese pay for whale delegates

Anthony Liverpool, chairman of the IWC summit, has accepted free flights and the £4,000 cost of staying at a luxury hotel
The chairman of this week’s international summit on whaling is being secretly funded by a Japanese company to stay in a luxury hotel.

Anthony Liverpool will open the crucial International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Morocco tomorrow which could vote to lift a 24-year ban on commercial whaling.

He has accepted free flights and the £4,000 cost of staying at a hotel with a private beach during the meeting. The hotel bills of five other countries’ delegates are also being paid.

The payments will increase concern that Japan is bribing delegates to secure support for whaling and may be in breach of the IWC convention which says: “The expenses of each member of the commission ... shall be determined and paid by his own government.”

Richard Benyon, the minister for fisheries, will raise what he called “these very serious allegations” at the IWC meeting.

On Friday Liverpool, the Antiguan IWC vice-chairman who will stand in as chairman at the meeting, said he did not know who was paying for his trip. “I am just aware of getting support through agencies,” he said.

However, inquiries have shown that his bill at a hotel in Agadir is being paid by Japan Tours and Travel of Houston, a company said to be linked to Hideuki “Harry” Wakasa, who has previously been identified as the middleman who makes secret payments to the pro-whaling Caribbean countries.
Sunday Times, 20th June 2010

ORLY?.. I call shenanigans.. Mr Liverpool needs to immediately give a detailed explanation of how it is possible for his business expenses to be paid for by Japanese pro commercial whaling lobby interests, without him being aware of it, since it appears he may be in breach of IWC regulations -

The IWC convention states: “The expenses of each member of the commission ... shall be determined and paid by his own government.”

Mr Liverpool should step down from his position with immediate effect, until this matter has been thoroughly investigated.

.. and while we are on the subject of Japanese government support for unsustainable, international commercial whaling -

Whistleblower aims to expose dark side of Japanese whaling

He refers to himself only as "Kujira-san" (Mr Whale), a precaution necessitated by a genuine fear for his safety. But the personal risks will be worthwhile, he says, if it means the world learns the truth about the dark side of Japan's whaling industry.

"Even before we arrived in the Antarctic Ocean," he says of a recent expedition, "the more experienced whalers would talk about taking whale meat home to sell. It was an open secret. Even officials from the Institute of Cetacean Research [a quasi-governmental body that organises Japan's whaling programme] on the ship knew what was happening, but they turned a blind eye to it."

Kujira, who worked aboard the Nisshin Maru mother ship, saw crew members helping themselves to prime cuts of whale meat and packing them into boxes they would mark with doodles or pseudonyms so they could identify them when the vessel reached port. "They never wrote their real names on the boxes," he said.

Some whalers would take home between five and 10 boxes, he said, while one secured as many as 40 boxes of prime meat that fetches ¥20,000 (about £148) a kilo when sold legally. One crew member built a house with the profits from illicitly sold whale meat, he said. "Another used the money he earned to buy a car," he said. "They were careful to select only the best cuts, like the meat near the tail fin. I never dared challenge them."...

- The Guardian, 14th June 2010

.. and not forgetting -

Revealed: Japan’s bribes on whaling

A SUNDAY TIMES investigation has exposed Japan for bribing small nations with cash and prostitutes to gain their support for the mass slaughter of whales.

The undercover investigation found officials from six countries were willing to consider selling their votes on the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

The revelations come as Japan seeks to break the 24-year moratorium on commercial whaling. An IWC meeting that will decide the fate of thousands of whales, including endangered species, begins this month in Morocco.

Japan denies buying the votes of IWC members. However, The Sunday Times filmed officials from pro-whaling governments admitting:

- They voted with the whalers because of the large amounts of aid from Japan. One said he was not sure if his country had any whales in its territorial waters. Others are landlocked.

— They receive cash payments in envelopes at IWC meetings from Japanese officials who pay their travel and hotel bills.

- One disclosed that call girls were offered when fisheries ministers and civil servants visited Japan for meetings.

Barry Gardiner, an MP and former Labour biodiversity minister, said the investigation revealed “disgraceful, shady practice”, which is “effectively buying votes”.

The reporters, posing as representatives of a billionaire conservationist, approached officials from pro-whaling countries and offered them an aid package to change their vote.

The governments of St Kitts and Nevis, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Grenada, Republic of Guinea and Ivory Coast all entered negotiations to sell their votes..

The Sunday Times, 13th June 2010

image courtesy of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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