Paul Watson, a self-described "buccaneer," is founder
of The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and was one of the principal
founders of Greenpeace. He was reportedly ousted from Greenpeace
in the late 1970s for violating the organization's principle of
"non-violent" action. Prior to joining Greenpeace, Watson
had been active with the Vancouver Liberation Front.
Watson founded The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977 to fight against whale and seal hunting. His methods have been extreme. In 1979, he used his ship, the Sea Shepherd, to ram the whaling ship Sierra located off the coast of Portugal. Portuguese authorities seized Watson's ship to compensate the whalers for damages, but before it could be sold, Watson managed to slip aboard his ship and sink it. Several months later, the Sierra was blown up. A woman claiming responsibility for the bombing told the UPI, "The Sea Shepherd is avenged!" These were only the first in a series of attacks on ships by The Sea Shepherd organization: In 1986, Paul Watson claimed responsibility for sinking two Icelandic whaling vessels; in 1990, he rammed two Japanese fishing ships; and in 1991, he rammed a Mexican tuna boat and attempted to ram a Taiwanese drift net ship. Most recently, on August 1, 1993, Watson was arrested by Canadian police on the deck of the Cleveland Amory (named after a financial backer) and charged with three counts of mischief on the high seas. The Amory had nearly rammed a Spanish fishing boat off the coast of Newfoundland.
Watson's fascination with extreme political methods is evidently several decades old. According to Greenpeace officials, Watson obtained Vancouver Sun press credentials under false pretenses in 1973, to gain access to the site of the bloody stand-off between the FBI and American Indian Movement leaders at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Watson slipped into the village at night to serve as a medic for the Indians.
In 1991, The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society lost key personnel and about 10% of its membership when Watson endorsed a dolphin act at the Mirage Casino in Las Vegas. The Mirage's owner, Steve Wynn had apparently offered Watson a $50,000 contribution.
Watson has received $60,000 from Warner Brothers for rights to his life story.
Selected Quotes By and About Paul Watson
"I got the impression that instead of going out to shoot birds, I should go out and shoot the kids who shoot birds." - Quoted by Dixy Lee Ray in her book Trashing the Planet (1990)
"I was the person who first thought up the tactic of tree spiking and as such I feel obligated to defend this child of my imagination... As a child I witnessed my father break a chainsaw on a horseshoe that had been nailed to a tree a century before and became over time internal armor protecting the heart of the elderly and noble being. I was delighted." - Quoted by Ron Arnold and Alan Gottlieb in their book Trashing the Economy (1993)
"A reporter called Paul [Watson] to see if Sea Shepherd wanted to accept responsibility [for sinking two Icelandic ships]. Of course, if lightning struck a whaling ship, Paul would accept responsibility for it." - Quote by Rodney Coronado, founder of the Animal Liberation Front, cited in Trashing the Economy (1990). Coronado, currently in hiding, is being sought in connection with the fire-bombing of a Michigan State University laboratory.
"It doesn't matter what is true; it only matters what people believe is true... You are what the media define you to be. [Greenpeace] became a myth and a myth-generating machine." - Quoted by Dixy Lee Ray in her book Environmental Overkill (1993)
Version Date: August 31, 1993
|Return to the Home Page||Return to the Dossier Index|
|Go to the Environmental Policy Task Force Home Page||Go to the Earth Day Information Center Home Page|
|Go to the Global Warming Information Center Home Page|