Two crusaders

There are two significant activists on the world today who are fighting against gross injustices, with their approaches as different as they are to each other.

One is something of a soft-handed dilettante who vigorously fights against political hypocrisy and whose principle weapons are the resources of the cyber-world through Wikileaks. The other is a tough, no-holds-barred sailor who prides himself on being almost piratical in his approach to environmental outrages, flying a Sea Shepherd flag that closely resembles the Jolly Roger of the legendary pirate days.

Sea Shepherd is an initiative of Captain Paul Watson, while Wikileaks is the creature of Julian Assange. Watson’s activities have brought him into open conflict with some of the world’s cruellest despoilers of the environment, particularly of the Japanese whalers in the Great Southern Ocean, where Watson now boasts that, “We’re celebrating another victory in the Southern Ocean! Operation Divine Wind is now over and for the second year in a row, the illegal Japanese whalers have left the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary early and with only a fraction of their quota. 768 whales are alive and swimming free because of our direct-action marine conservation efforts!”

Watson’s organisation has mounted several campaigns to the Southern Ocean to defend whales, a campaign to the Mediterranean to defend blue fin tuna, a campaign to the Faeroe Islands to defend pilot whales, a campaign to Namibia to defend South African fur seals, a campaign to Taiji, Japan, to defend dolphins and an on-going campaign to stop poachers in the Galapagos Islands.

Captain Watson has particular concerns, however, about Australia’s Coral Sea which is a virtually untouched and pristine place while much of our global waters are fished to the brink, polluted with toxic water or littered with oil and gas developments – and is truly a special place which is extremely vulnerable.

Through WikiLeaks Julian Assange has released more classified documents than the rest of the world press combined: “That’s not something I say as a way of saying how successful we are – rather, that shows you the parlous state of the rest of the media” Assange said, and it is a major achievement that Wikileaks has made public so much politically suppressed information.

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