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Pete Bethune Resigning From Sea Shepherd
This was posted earlier today on Pete Bethune’s Facebook page. All in all it seems like this may be best summed up by the last quote i put on this page from Pete “The oceans need SSCS to be successful, but we also need them to be honest to the public that support them.” Maybe the oceans need them both! I’m sure its not the last we will hear from him or Sea Shepherd. Sea Shepherd released a statement via there website and is linked to below. I will keep you updated on future news. His words after the break.
Pete Bethune Without prejudice:
“I am writing this in an effort to curb the increasing dishonesty by SSCS towards myself and the volunteers and supporters of Sea Shepherd. I am going public regarding the following issues:
Number One: Deliberate Scuttling …of Ady Gil
After the ramming of the Ady Gil, Chuck said to me that Paul, the Admiral of the Sea Shepherd fleet, wanted me to scuttle the Ady Gil. He said there was no point in towing the boat all the way to the French base, and that it would be best if the boat was just sunk and we could get on with chasing the whalers. Later that day, Chuck and I went to the Ady Gil, and I performed the necessary tasks with Chuck observing. Ady Gil then gradually took on water, and later that night she was left to sink, while the Bob Barker moved on to pursue the fleet.
I felt horrid before, during and after the scuttling and I have felt terrible about it ever since. It broke me heart to sink a vessel that had been such a big part of my life, and I also felt we had betrayed SSCS sponsors, SSCS supporters, Ady Gil, and the public by lying about it. It was a totally dishonest thing to do and as a conservation group, the order is a total breach of ethics.
I sincerely regret my role in this. I apologize unreservedly to Ady Gil, and Sea Shepherd Volunteers and supporters, all of whom I have let down. It was the wrong thing to do, and while I was under orders to do so, I should have refused to carry out the instructions. I am resigning from Sea Shepherd forthwith.
Concern Number 2: The Bow and Arrow
When I met with Paul Watson in July 2009, he gave me permission to take a Bow and Arrow to Antarctica, with the idea of pasting a poison on the arrow tips (or fake poison), and firing them into dead whales while they were being transferred from harpoon vessel to processing ship. When I met Paul on the Steve Irwin in Antarctica, I confirmed all tactics, and he again said I had permission to use the bow and arrow if we came across a suitable situation.
After the Ady Gil was scuttled, crew of the Shonan Maru found four arrows in the water. SSCS issued a press release denying all knowledge of the arrows, suggesting instead that the whalers had planted them as false evidence. There was no need to say anything at all. The story was the Ady Gil had sunk…not that some arrows had been found. No one really cared about four arrows when the whalers had explosive harpoons and 12 gauge shotguns.
In issuing the press release, SSCS was lying to media. It was a mistake to ever deny the arrows, and the communications debacle since then has been a total disgrace.
While I was imprisoned in Japan, senior Sea Shepherd people saw that the bow and arrow was to appear in the first episode of whale wars, and Lizard Productions refused to delete the scenes. SSCS wrongly felt they were in for a backlash about perceived violent tactics. They decided to expel me from SSCS. I have had this meeting verified by two sources. Chuck Swift falsely claimed in a press release that I took a banned weapon to Antarctica. Paul Watson then backs up Chuck by agreeing that he had no knowledge of the bow and arrow, and that yes I was expelled from SSCS.
Issue #3. The false Expulsion from SSCS
Several people left Sea Shepherd in protest at my treatment, and many others threatened to never support SSCS again. SSCS then goes into damage control. It announces they had not really expelled me, but in fact had done it to assist in my sentencing. Note my lawyers believed the tactic did not really help my cause, as it portrayed me as dishonest – it implied for example I had taken a bow and arrow without the permission of Paul Watson. The lawyers repeatedly told me they had nothing to do with the expulsion, and they certainly would never have recommended it.
My legal team in fact only found out about the expulsion after it was announced to media. My legal team did include the expulsion in court evidence, reasoning it was now in the public domain, and the Judges would already be aware of it. But in no way did my legal team ever request, recommend or suggest that my expulsion would in any way assist with sentencing.
On getting out of prison, Paul Watson said to me I was not expelled, and I was welcome back on all future campaigns. Several other senior SSCS people however confirmed that the expulsion was because of the bow and arrow, but the increasing backlash against my treatment had made SSCS come up with a suitable guise – in this case, it was all part of the master strategy to help with sentencing.
Issue #4. The Secret Agreement with Japanese Judges
In August while I was in LA I said to both Paul that I wished to go on the next Antarctica campaign. Paul said there were some reservations about my going to Japan, and he suggested that a deal had been done with the Japanese judiciary. After several conversations and subsequent emails, he confirmed we really owed the Japanese nothing, I could go on the next campaign, I could do my Pacific Yellowfin project, and SSCS would help to promote and sell my book. A few weeks later the number of books SSCS would purchase was agreed at 800. This order was placed on my authors account with the publishers.
Then in September, I was again told that SSCS had made a supposed secret agreement with Japanese Judges. This entailed my not participating in another Antarctica campaign, in exchange for a suspended sentence. This of course is in contrast with Paul and Laurens’ assurances on my release that I was still a bona fide member of SSCS and welcome on the next Antarctica campaign. It also contradicts the email sent from Paul following my release.
I have spoken to lawyers in Japan, a Japanese prosecutor, and several Japanese Journalists, and all have said it would be impossible for SSCS to reach any secret deal with the Judges. There is in fact no evidence to support this. No one knows who made the deal, which judges it was with, and what the specific terms were. It would represent interference in the judicial system.
If the head of the biggest Yakuza faction, incidentally some 3 cells down from mine in the Tokyo Detention Center, and with many millions of dollars in assets at his disposal – well if he cannot make a deal with the Judiciary, what hope does an organization like SSCS, routinely derided and despised in Japan as a terrorist organization, have of cutting an illegal deal? The answer of course is none. There was no secret deal with the Judiciary.
My legal team all along said a suspended sentence was inevitable, as long as I cooperated with the Prosecutor and acted humble and contrite in court…which I did. If I refused to say anything however, they said the trial would take years and cost millions. I was advised if I took the “nobody talks, everybody walks” approach, I would be detained for a much longer period. So under advice from the legal counsel, I did agree to things to expedite the trial. This included pleading guilty to four charges, and acknowledging that Paul Watson was the Admiral of the fleet and gave instructions to me.
Issue #5. The faked shooting of Paul Watson
A number of crew on the Bob Barker and Steve Irwin were discussing the alleged shooting of Paul Watson. In the first series of Whale Wars, Paul Watson was supposedly shot by crew of the Nisshin Maru. SSCS Crew present on that voyage argued strongly to me that the entire episode was faked. I was not on the campaign, so in fact I don’t know if it is in fact true or not. However given what I’ve witnessed in the last year, and my knowledge of the Japanese crew, I would bet $500,000 at odds of 10:1, that the event was staged.
The shooting represents just another lie that does little for the credibility of SSCS. The organization does not need to lie or be deceptive to sell its message. The public will support the cause of stopping whaling, however they will not support SSCS if they become aware of the many lies the organization increasingly propagates through media.
What I am requesting:
What really concerns me most is the apparent moral bankruptcy of senior SSCS personnel. They routinely conspire and lie over serious matters, with little regard for people like myself who they malign and bulldoze along the way. They misrepresent themselves to the public who are generous enough to support them, and to media who they rely on to promote their cause.
The short time I have been associated with SSCS, and the sheer number of lies I’ve witnessed, makes me realize there is a large and increasing number of skeletons hidden in the SSCS closet. It is time for this closet to be closed (or opened fully) and for the organization to move on.
I am asking that from now on, SSCS determine to act in an honest way with its volunteers, supporters and media. SSCS does not need to lie. Saving whales, dolphins, tuna and sharks are noble causes, and the public will embrace these as worthwhile. The story does not need to be manipulated and changed in order to get public support.
Secondly, volunteers like myself should be treated honestly and with respect. If an agreement is made with a volunteer, then it should be honored. This process of agreeing to things, only to renege a month or two later is simply unacceptable for a volunteer organization.
Since returning home I have been contacted by numerous volunteers all unhappy at how SSCS has treated them. The sheer number of complaints suggests that SSCS routinely treats Volunteers with contempt.
As of today, I am resigning from Sea Shepherd. Having been party to the deliberate sinking of the Ady Gil, I do not deserve the support of other volunteers and supporters who deserve its members to act with honesty and integrity. I am also tired of the management team that I now perceive as morally bankrupt.
My biggest disappointment is I truly love the many Sea Shepherd volunteers and supporters who have made such a massive impact, especially in shining the spotlight on Japanese whaling. I hope that from here, the organization can regroup and move forward with resolve and purpose, and with a new modus operandi that has it dealing honestly with volunteers, supporters and media. There is no one else currently in Antarctica stopping whaling, and so Sea Shepherd has a vital role to play. They also have an obligation however to be true to the people that provide labor, funding and resource for the organization to survive.”
“So in the end i decided to publish my concerns in the hope that sea shepherd can improve and move forward with some integrity at its core. The oceans need SSCS to be successful, but we also need them to be honest to the public that support them.”
“Perhaps it might explain things Pete if you let everyone know that we discovered that you gave testimony to the Japanese police that accused me of ordering you onto the Shonan Maru #2. You made a deal with the Japanese for leniency on your sentence Pete.
And when I confronted you on this, you sent me a message that wa…s plain and simply – blackmail.
You said that unless we gave in to your demands, you were prepared to release falsified information about Sea Shepherd and you implied you would cooperate further unless you got your way. I will post these threats tomorrow. Sea Shepherd has nothing to hide.
Blackmail and cooperation with the Japanese prosecutors to frame me! This is hardly honourable stuff Pete.
You’re not the victim here Pete. You agreed to cooperate with the Japanese.
That is the reason you cannot return to the Southern Ocean with us.”
Posted by Ady Gil in response to Pete’s posts:
“Pete is my brother. I am not mad at him at all for sinking the Ady Gil. It was an emotional day for him that day, and he made the right decision at the time. He told me, “Paul is my Boss” and I will not disobey him.
That is why I strongly believe that Paul knew about the “Bow and Arrow”. That is why I took that position at the time, because Pete told me that he will ask Paul for permission, and I believe that he did.
Pete is a man, who can come clean, something to learn from.”
Pete Bethune quits Sea Shepherd, Pete Bethune leaving Sea Shepherd, Pete Bethune leaves Sea Shepherd,
UPDATE: Pete talks on USTREAMView comments →
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