Monday, November 26, 2012
Easy Creamy Potato Soup
The days are getting shorter. Try as you may, you just can't get home before the sun tucks itself in for the night. These are the days when you just want something hot and soothing -- and you want it now. This recipe comes together in a snap, so you can cozy up to a steaming bowl of soup in no time. Or toss the ingredients in a slow cooker and be met with an aromatic hug welcoming you home.
1 Tbsp. canola oil
4 cups chopped, unpeeled russet potatoes
1 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (or you can use a yellow onion)
1 cup water
3 cups plain dairy-free milk (almond or soy work well)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp. crushed dried basil
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, or you can use 1 tsp. dried parsley
1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot.
2. Add the potatoes and sauté over medium heat, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until they start to brown.
3. Add onions and sauté 10 minutes longer.
4. Add the water, soymilk, and spices.
5. Simmer uncovered, stirring often, until potatoes are soft and start to fall apart.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice: Captain Paul Watson ” the consequences of successful intervention.”
Photo: Leonard Kötters / Sea ShepherdIt is nice to be wanted I suppose, and now it is not just Costa Rica that wants to bring me to their country for the “crime” of saving sharks. On Friday, Japan officially demanded my arrest for the “crime” of saving whales.
Apparently the ‘red’ notice has been sent to 190 nations to be on the lookout for me. This is amazing. I have never injured a single person. I have not damaged any property. I have not committed an act of terrorism. I have not stolen any money or sexually assaulted any person.
Japan is desperately upset because we have prevented them from killing whales. As for Costa Rica, well Costa Rica could not care less about our shark conservation efforts they are simply acting as a subservient instrument for Japan. Actually, considering the money Costa Rica received from Japan, I think the better term would be to say Costa Rica is acting whorishly with respect to this situation.
Japan is getting increasingly desperate. In addition to enlisting Costa Rica to place me on Interpol’s ‘red’ list for bogus charges stemming from our interventions against illegal shark finning operations way back in 2002, they have now officially submitted a ‘red’ list demand against me based on the incidents in 2010 in the Southern Ocean.
In 2010, the Japanese vessel Shonan Maru 2 deliberately rammed and destroyed the 1.5 million dollar vessel the Ady Gil. One crewmember was injured and six others nearly killed. Although the New Zealand Maritime Safety Authority ruled that the Japanese ship was 50% responsible for the destruction of the ship, they refused to cooperate with the investigation, no one was charged, and Japan did not pay any damages.
In response to the ramming of the Ady Gil, the captain of the Ady Gil boarded the Shonan Maru 2 to demand that the Japanese captain take responsibility for the destruction of his vessel.
This was all documented on the Animal Planet show Whale Wars. Included in the documentation was my advice to the captain to not board the Shonan Maru 2, but this person stated that he felt he had to board the vessel and that he would take complete responsibility for the boarding. Using his own Jet Ski and his own crew to take him to the Shonan Maru 2, he boarded the vessel. He was detained, taken back to Japan, and charged with trespassing and other charges ranging from interference with commerce to assault and destruction of property.
This person never acted under my orders at any time during the 2010 campaign. The Ady Gil was not owned by Sea Shepherd. It was owned by Ady Gil who appointed his own captain who answered to Ady Gil alone.
It was my mistake to allow him to work with us, but at the time we had a need for a fast scout vessel. Unfortunately the captain of the Ady Gil had other ideas and decided to challenge the illegal Japanese whalers head on and as a consequence lost his boat. He was then kept in jail for nearly four months before being released on a suspended sentence and returning to New Zealand.
The reason he was released with a suspended sentence was that he made a plea bargain deal, and that deal was to sign a statement accusing me of ordering him to board the Shonan Maru 2. The Japanese government never wanted him, they wanted me and I was delivered to them with bogus testimony. The captain of the Ady Gil knew full well that I advised him not to board the Shonan Maru 2. All the crew present heard him say that he wanted to do so and would take total responsibility for his actions even if it meant prison time.
The charges against me by Japan and the reason they have issued the ‘red’ notice is based 100% on the accusations given to the Japanese by the captain of the Ady Gil. His testimony is the only evidence against me. That was the deal made between him and the Japanese authorities and in return for his freedom he delivered me to them.
Initially, in 2010, Interpol denied the request for a ‘red’ notice by Japan. Also in January 2012 Interpol dismissed the initial request by Costa Rica. In May when I was detained by Germany at the request of Costa Rica without the ‘red’ notice, I was told that Germany did not need to consider the Interpol dismissal of the request.
Since leaving Germany the day before I was again to be detained by the German police and handed over either to Japan, or to Costa Rica and then Japan, Costa Rica and Japan both requested that I be placed on the ‘red’ list once again. This time, although the evidence had not changed, the request was granted.
What this means is that I am not actually a fugitive at the moment. The ‘red’ notice means that when I enter a country, the fact that I have done so is sent onto Japan and Costa Rica and they can then request a provisional arrest warrant after which the nation where I have entered can detain me and then extradite me to either Japan or Costa Rica. The nation detaining me need not even look at the evidence or lack of evidence. They need only turn me over to the mercy of the foreign authorities requesting my arrest.
As for Germany, it is not illegal to skip bail. I am wanted in Germany only under the provisional arrest warrant from Costa Rica and Japan, but once I left Germany the warrant for my arrest was no longer valid.
There is no question that this has all been brought about by our successful interventions against illegal whaling activities by Japan in the Southern Ocean, where we have cost the Japanese whalers tens of millions of dollars and severely humiliated them.
photo: Barbara Veiga/Sea Shepherd
Below is an interview that I did with one of the Sea Shepherd crew based on questions received from the media and the public.
Question: If you believe that you have done nothing wrong and the evidence will exonerate you, then why not allow Costa Rica and/or Japan to take you to court?
Captain Paul Watson: The answer to that is simple. We don’t have the time. We have a major campaign in the planning scheduled for December and the objective of that campaign is to stop the Japanese whaling fleet from killing whales. That must be my priority. If I allow myself to be taken to either Costa Rica or Japan, I will be tied up for months, perhaps for years and with respect to Japan, possibly forever. I believe that saving the lives of a thousand whales must take priority over playing courtroom games with Japan and Costa Rica. You don’t win a battle by playing by the rules of the opposition.
Question: Some of your critics are saying you are afraid to face the charges.
Captain Paul Watson: My critics say lots of things that have no relevance to me. Refusing to play their game, on their terms, is not being afraid, it is being practical. When we tried to have the Japanese captain questioned for the destruction of the Ady Gil, he refused to cooperate and yet the Japanese expect me to cooperate with them. Let me see, they destroyed a 1.5 million dollar vessel, actually injured an Animal Planet cameraman and almost killed everyone onboard, they refuse to cooperate and the case is closed. I on the other hand have not injured anyone nor have I destroyed one of their ships and when I refuse to cooperate they say I am a coward. Really it is all quite silly. In time, I may have to face these bogus charges either voluntarily or if they take me prisoner and when forced to present a defense for myself, I will do so. Quite frankly, right now my priority is organizing and leading a defense for the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Question: Are you embittered with Germany for detaining you in May and then deciding to extradite you?
Captain Paul Watson: Not with the German people. They were and are generally very supportive. The German government like most governments does not care about individual liberty or even justice. Their concern is to keep their trading partners happy and if Japan or Costa Rica wants me, the German government was quite happy to give them what they wanted. They did not even bother to examine the facts of the case. They simply waited for the extradition papers to arrive. Their decision was already made.
Question: The Costa Rican Foreign Minister has said that there is no evidence that the Costa Rican fishing vessel you stopped in Guatemalan waters was finning sharks.
Captain Paul Watson: Rob Stewart made the documentary film Sharkwater and the shark finning footage in that film was taken over a two-hour period from the deck of the Sea Shepherd vessel Ocean Warrior of theVaradero I. It is all on film. Additionally, the Varadero I was arrested in 2001, the year before the incident with Sea Shepherd, in the Galapagos for illegally fishing and finning sharks. The vessel was fined the maximum penalty before being released. So what we have is a vessel previously convicted of shark finning and documented on film in the process of shark finning, yet the foreign minister makes a ridiculous statement that there is no evidence that the vessel was shark finning.
Question: Why were you charged ten years after the fact over the Varadero I incident?
Captain Paul Watson: Actually I was charged in May 2001 and we went to court in Puntarenas, Costa Rica that month and presented witness statements and showed film documentation of the incident. The charges were dismissed and I was given clearance to leave Costa Rica, which I did, and I did not hear anything further about this incident until May 2012 when I was detained by a Costa Rican request to Germany for my arrest. Costa Rica never contacted me in the entire 10 years to say that they were reinstating charges.
Question: Costa Rica is considered a good environmentally aware nation. Why would they do that?
Captain Paul Watson: They do have the appearance of being a concerned nation with regard to the environment but in practice they have a very bad record. Costa Rica is one of the worst nations in Central America when it comes to illegal fishing and shark finning and they are the conduit for selling Nicaraguan shark fins to China. Cocos Island National Park has seen a serious decline in diversity over the last two decades and the illegal fishing activities are simply not dealt with. Cocos Island rangers are not given the boats or equipment they need and very little is done in Costa Rican coastal waters to protect marine species and habitat. Costa Rica has come after me simply because they made a deal with Japan to do so.
Question: What are you doing about these charges?
Captain Paul Watson: We have lawyers working on this in Germany, France, Costa Rica, the U.S.A. and Japan. In the meantime, this is not my priority. My priority is returning to my ships to once again oppose illegal Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean. To involve myself in a legal defense in court at this moment would prevent me from being where I need to be and where Japan does not want me to be and that is confronting their illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean beginning in December.
The charges are ridiculous. The Japanese charges are based solely on the bogus accusations of a man trying to save his own ass. The Costa Rican charges were tossed out a decade ago because there was no case. Everything we do is documented for film and television.
Question: Is it a hardship keeping your location secret and not having your passport?
Captain Paul Watson: I would not say it is a hardship. It is inconvenient but I’m not doing what I am doing because it is easy. I am doing what I am doing because it is necessary. I have spent my entire life on the sea and in confrontations with illegal activities diminishing diversity in our oceans. We have powerful wealthy enemies so I am not surprised at the formidable opposition against us. After filing for an appeal against the British Court ruling siding with us in the preliminary injunction for our cutting of their illegal tuna nets, a lawyer for the Maltese company Fish and Fish said, “we will get him, it is simply a matter of throwing more money at him in doing so.” Maybe they will get me but I can’t worry about that for if I worried about things like that I may as well have not tried to save anything in our oceans at all.
In what environment do we do our best? In a comfortable environment where everything is safe and convenient, great things are not accomplished. It is from within an environment of controversy, uncertainty, and challenge that great things can be accomplished.
Question: In social network forums it seems like half the comments and blogs support you and the other half condemn you. What do you think of these postings, comments, and blogs?
Captain Paul Watson: I don’t think about them much because I very rarely even see or read them. I expect vicious character attacks. After all the world would not be in the situation it is in now if not for the kind of anti-nature, anti-activist mentality of pretty much half the population. It seems that half the population of society is awake and the other half believes in angels, magic underwear, and Wal-mart. In fact I would be very disappointed if I did not receive vicious insults, death threats, and ignorant postings. It makes me realize that if I am pissing off so many people in a world where so many are destroying nature then I must be doing something right. At the same time, I am receiving the support and endorsement of millions of people worldwide.
Question: Will you be leading the next Sea Shepherd campaign to the Southern Ocean to defend the whales from the Japanese whalers?
Captain Paul Watson: I intend to lead Operation Zero Tolerance and I am working my way towards doing so but if I cannot, the campaign will go ahead under the direction of my captains, officers and crew and we intend to cost them their illegal profits once again.
Question: Some people think that you are a fugitive. Has that affected your support base?
Captain Paul Watson: I have not seen any evidence that it has affected us negatively. If anything, our support has grown. I am not a fugitive from justice and it is in fact not illegal for anyone to assist me because all that has been posted is a ‘red’ notice through Interpol. There have been no provisional arrest warrants issued by either Japan or Costa Rica outside of Japan and Costa Rica. Besides, everyone I have ever admired from Henry David Thoreau to Gandhi to Nelson Mandela has seen the inside of a jail cell. In 1972, Nelson Mandela was in prison in South Africa and considered a terrorist. Today he is one of the most respected and beloved leaders in the world.
Question: Are you afraid of the consequences should you be captured?
Captain Paul Watson: All of my life I have been afraid of only one thing and that is of doing nothing. I have never been able to fathom the idea of accepting the way things are. We humans are killing our oceans, we are diminishing bio-diversity, we are over heating the planet, we are pouring poisons into the sea and air. I cannot accept that meekly and I know with absolute certainty that if we kill the oceans, we kill ourselves. If the oceans die, we die and the oceans are dying in our time. My greatest fear is that people simply accept that fact.
Question: Has the media delivered the facts about this situation accurately?
Captain Paul Watson: The responsible media has like Der Spiegel in Germany, the Globe and Mail in Canada, the Guardian in Britain, etc, but overall the media in general cannot be expected to report factually on much anymore. This last week, one of the biggest stories is the controversy over topless pictures of Kate Middleton. Not a single question has been asked to the U.S. Presidential candidates on climate change, the dying oceans, species extinction or any other ecological issue. It is like if your house was burning and the firemen were still in the station discussing baseball scores and the media was reporting that the woman in the house next to you was sun bathing in the nude.
Question: Where are you now?
Captain Paul Watson: I am at this moment a free man on the planet Earth, the place where I have always been and will forever be.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Monday, September 3, 2012
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Friday, June 29, 2012
June 27, 2012
About a month ago I was asked to fly to Costa Rica and meet with politicians and our local lawyer to see if we could find a solution for the insane court case Captain Watson is being dragged into. I met with the Minister of Environment and several of his staff and in a closed-door meeting we came to several agreements. One of which was that we would not talk to the press about this. To my surprise, two days later I read an article in a Costa Rican paper quoting word for word what I said in the meeting; so much for closed-door meetings with Costa Rican politicians.
Who is really in charge in Costa Rica?
Commentary by Captain Alex Cornelissen
Our strategy from the beginning of this case has been to try to work with the authorities in Costa Rica. Despite the desire of the vast majority of our supporters, we have not only kept quiet about a tourist boycott, we have even advised against the boycott believing we can find a solution that will help Costa Rica, Sea Shepherd and most importantly, the sharks. We have offered to return to Costa Rica and continue where we were stopped ten years ago. Our offer even went further, I personally promised we would fund and install an AIS network around Cocos Island; similar to what Sea Shepherd has done in the Galapagos. After all we have the knowledge and the experience to do so. Such a network would instantly improve control of Cocos Island National Park. But apparently there are things happening around Cocos Island that the Costa Rican government does not want the world to see.
We listened to the lies of the Varadero I crew, printed in the Costa Rican newspapers, took abuse from people who were quick to side with the poachers, and all this time we listened to the same argument that nobody should think they can be above the law.
Let us make this very clear: Captain Watson never claimed he was above the law, Sea Shepherd always operates within the law, in fact we uphold the law.
The same is the case in the Varadero I incident:
- We have hard evidence as well as witness statements from 24 crew members, proving that the Guatemalan authorities not only gave permission for Sea Shepherd to intervene against the poachers, they in fact asked them to do so. This actually means that the Varadero I was under official Guatemalan order to follow the Ocean Warrior to port. Under these conditions refusal to follow is actually a separate crime.
- We have video evidence of the collision proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Varadero I is the vessel at fault. Any maritime expert can see this.
- We have video evidence and witness statements that dispute the claim that anybody was injured on board the Varadero I.
- We have video evidence and witness statements that dispute the claim that the Varadero I was damaged during the collision.
- We have uncovered incriminating evidence against the Varadero I dating back one year before the incident. The Varadero was caught while operating illegally inside the Galapagos Marine Reserve, in fact inside of the Marine Reserve that is known for having large numbers of sharks. An area also known for repeated violations from Costa Rican ships.
- The Ocean Warrior was allowed to leave port, we never ran away from justice as some have claimed. We have the Zarpe (departure clearance) to prove this, given by the port captain in Puntarenas.
Let’s also look at some of the so-called “evidence” these poachers have brought against Captain Watson in this case:
- The original claim actually included attempted murder. I have been a mariner myself for more than 15 years and have participated in over 20 Sea Shepherd campaigns. We are a non-violent group and have never injured a person during our entire history. It would have been easy to do so because our opponents maneuver themselves dangerously close to our vessels, but we are always under instruction to avoid collisions or any other dangerous situations. Accusing us of attempted murder is a claim so far from reality that even the judge in Puntarenas realized that this had no ground whatsoever. Instead the claim “endangerment of a vessel causing injury” was made up. Obviously we object to this claim as we have hard evidence proving this is a fraud. The false injury claim was maliciously added to aggravate the charges against Captain Watson. Funny that whenever Sea Shepherd encounters fishermen, they are not the tough guys they claim to be, but instead a bunch of pathetic whiners.
- It is claimed that the Sea Shepherd crew threw so called tuna bombs at the Varadero I. First of all, we don’t throw explosives, under no condition. Secondly we don’t even have these tuna bombs on board, but no doubt the Varadero I crew did, as these are items used in fishing.
- It is claimed that the windows of the Varadero I were all knocked out by the water cannons of the Ocean Warrior. Strange because in the footage it is crystal clear that not a single window was knocked out. I can also say from experience, having sailed five years on that ship, that the water “cannons” on the Ocean Warrior had such low pressure that we couldn’t even knock a fly off the railing of our own ship, let alone the windows of a fishing vessel.
- The poachers claim they “drifted” inside Guatemalan waters due to engine trouble and were therefore 45 kilometers inside their EEZ. We had similar claims in Galapagos some time ago, until I made it clear to the Galapagos authorities that the currents were in fact moving away from land. The same goes for this area; there is NO current in this position that could cause a vessel to move 45 km into the Guatemalan EEZ. And even if such a current did exist, I repeat it doesn’t, it would be a 1-knot current at the very most and this would mean the Varadero I must have been drifting for about 30 hours. This however, is impossible as they were pulling in a line when the Ocean Warrior spotted them. Their catch was very much alive which means the line couldn’t have been in the water for more than 24 hours. They were without a doubt willfully shark finning in Guatemalan waters.
Now let’s analyze some other interesting facts as we are finding out more about these every day:
- The Japanese whaling fleet filed an injunction against Sea Shepherd (which they lost) in a Washington state court, ONE WEEK before the case against Captain Watson was mysteriously re-opened in the Costa Rican court. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
- President Chinchilla visited Japan last year, must have been a good opportunity to discuss possible scenarios on how the Costa Rican government could help Japan get their hands on Captain Watson. This ten-year-old court case must have come up. The visit took place at the exact same time as when the court case against Captain Watson mysteriously re-opened.
- Just today the press reported that Japan donated nine million dollars to Costa Rica’s National Parks. Reward money for being Tokyo’s lackey?
- The Chinchilla administration is not exactly popular in Costa Rica, due to scandals relating to numerous issues, one of which is marine issues. In fact a survey among popularity of political leaders in the Americas lists Chinchilla in last position with 26% support of the people of Costa Rica (Ecuador is first, 81% of the people support Correa). This explains why university students in San Jose asked me why on earth Sea Shepherd would want to work with a government most Costa Ricans despise.
- The $25,000 contract on Captain Watson’s life is still outstanding, and might have even been raised. Any sensible person would not want to give the opportunity for someone to cash in on this reward. This is why Captain Watson is willing to come to Costa Rica voluntarily, so he doesn’t have to wait for his trail in some Costa Rican jail. If he is extradited, he will need to spend an unknown amount of time in a place where his safety is seriously at risk.
- Captain Watson was never informed about the continuation of this court case in Costa Rica and logically didn’t think it was still an issue (it has been TEN years!), until he was arrested in Germany. Normally this case would have been judicially expired but because the Costa Rican courts considered him a fugitive since 2006(!!) the case has been suspended. Why it took SIX years before the court in Costa Rica decided to send out an international arrest warrant is an absolute mystery. Captain Watson should have also been properly notified of his required presence during a court case in 2006, but instead the court made no effort whatsoever to contact him, not that it is hard to locate him.
- Interpol did not put out an international arrest warrant for Captain Watson as they felt the request from Costa Rican did not meet with their standards. They even made the highly unusual move of posting this decision on their website, making it very clear that this demand is political. After all it is clear that Captain Watson made a lot of enemies in the political arena during his 35 years at the helm of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
- Germany does not have an extradition treaty with Costa Rica; in fact Germany has no obligation whatsoever to honor any such request from Costa Rica. Still Captain Watson was arrested in Frankfurt while he previously had traveled all over the world and no other country saw it fit to even consider the request from Costa Rica.
Despite the fact that we have an overwhelming amount of evidence in our defense and that we have tried to reason with the judges to ease up on the extradition order, Captain Watson is still treated as a criminal. Captain Watson has offered to come to Costa Rica voluntarily and defend himself in front of the court, but his request was turned down.
The poachers were NEVER prosecuted for their crimes against nature, even though the Sharkwater footage that we handed over to the courts proved without a doubt that they were engaged in a criminal operation.
You would think that Costa Rica has more important things to do than to bring up a ten-year old accusation from a bunch of poachers against a man who has done more for the protection of the oceans than any person in the history of the world.
Accusations that are based on nothing but the statements of the poachers, none of it supported by so much as a shred of actual evidence.
Costa Rica has a serious shark-finning problem and on top of that a serious drug trafficking problem. Why then, would the German government even consider extraditing Captain Watson to a country seriously challenged by organized crime and where shark finners, caught red-handedly, are released within days without even paying bail? Instead Captain Watson had to pay a bail of a quarter million Euro and has to report to the police every day. His alleged crime: following the instructions of the Guatemalan government.
One would think this is all about the Costa Rican government trying to move the country's focus away from the real problems, after all election year is coming up.
I think without a doubt that Captain Watson, even though he has not been able to go to Costa Rica for ten years now, has done more for the protection of Cocos Island than the Chinchilla administration and that must be hard to digest.